Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review #6 - The Eleventh Plague

Title: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
Released: September 1, 2011. First released August 1, 2011.
Copy Owned: Kindle Edition

Hirsch starts the book with the death of what would seem to be one of the more prominent, even though inactive, characters of the story.

P-11 or the eleventh plague had been unleashed years before by the Chinese (interesting lol) during another infamous war. The plague sounds more like an extreme flu virus, but it seems to have done it's job, infecting and wiping out the world's population little by little.

Grandpa, an inactive yet ominous presence in the book, had just been buried, another victim to the plague. We never got to know Grandpa in his physical state, but the book eludes to his personality and attitude constantly to the point where you feel as if he's still in it. A former marine, we read about what his rules of survival were. Everyone is an enemy. Don't get involved in outside problems, because you have your own problems to deal with. Don't use what you can trade. If I read correctly, he wasn't shy with his rants and slaps, either.

Dad is the opposite in mannerisms. The plague might've made his father more of a hard-ass than he might've been otherwise, but Dad was still a Dad. Dad still had enough humanity in him, which eventually ended up being the cause of his exit from the story. He's one of those characters that you don't really get to know before he exits, but you see enough to realize he was a good guy. He was someone that wasn't tainted despite the world's going down the crapper.

Stephen is our main character. Our narrator. The lone survivor of his immediate family.

It's during one of their salvaging missions where things go awry. Slavers, said to typically be ex-military/government people, move through in close proximity. Stephen and his father notice they have a woman and her son in tow, shackled. Stephen, knowing what Grandpa would say, wants to let it go. Dad has other plans...his own plans. He can't let a mother and child go without trying to help.

Yeah, that's the kind of man Dad was...and that's what kicked off Dad's getting injured.

What pissed me off here was that he had good intentions. Noble ones. Stephen went along against his better judgement, and the woman not only ran off, but showed no signs of any gratitude...nor did she even attempt to help those that saved her.


Dad cracks his head, Stephen cracks a nut.

I don't know...at first Stephen sort of irked me, seeming selfish and always referring to what Grandpa would say or do. It was like he was brainwashed, but when I look back, it's how Grandpa kept them alive for so long. What Grandpa would say or do was Stephen's second nature and we see how he both hated it but relied on it.

Dad gets injured running from the slavers and Stephen's left taking on the role of caretaker. He drags his father's limp body to a little covey, tends to his wounds as best he can, and sets out to get their belongings back...beating himself up about how stupid the entire situation was.

What was that? He hears a rustle...hears voices...are there more slavers?

No...but Grandpa's way is to shoot now and ask questions later...which Stephen does.

Down goes a blonde mound. Stephen takes another aim at the strangers, cause apparently Grandpa taught him to be an anybody-killer...when he hears steps behind him and turns just in time to get clobbered over the head.

Oops, they weren't slavers, what was he thinking?

He comes to, hands bound and faced by strangers. They seem as shaken as he is...they don't seem that bad, but Grandpa said...


First act of kindness. They don't punish him for shooting the annoying presence that was lucky enough to survive. They let him live. Second act of kindness. They give him a choice to come along. Third act of kindness, they give him ammo when he refuses.

From this point on, Stephen see's a different world. A world so different from his own, one he's not sure he can be a part of, one he doesn't know if he can be a part of.

Needless to say, this is where all the good stuff comes in. The stuff that keeps you reading until you're done. I won't go into that because I already told so much, I know I didn't have a spoiler alert written, but gahhh, if you think that's the exciting stuff, you're wrong. There's more.

What I really loved about this book is how realistic and down to earth the characters are. I can envision the people as they were written, doing what they're written to do. I don't read many books in this genre because it's usually the opposite. It's either too doom and gloom to where you don't want to read any more...or it's too over the top. I found this story to have a little bit of everything, yet keeping it's realism firm.

Would I recommend it? I sure would. I recommend it to anyone that simply enjoys reading a good book. You don't have to be a fan of any specific genre to enjoy a book like this. It's the future without cyborgs and laser guns, yet it's still current, with the desires to make the world what it once was.

5 star rating. I think I've said enough to confirm why.

Happy Reading!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Review #5 - Mama

Title: Mama by Robin Morris
Released: January 10, 2012. First published May 4, 2011
Copy Owned: Free signed copy from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway *Thanks for signing it!* :-D

This book will have you biting down your nails in anticipation. At least, that's what it did with me.

When it first arrived at my door, after looking at the cover for awhile, I was under the impression it was gonna be something sort of like Wrong Turn, the literary version. I wasn't put off, but I wasn't super anxious, either.

It didn't take long for me to get over that minor hump.

It went something like this:

*read through first page* Ohh?

*read through second page* 0_0

*read through third page* hmmms...


Morris starts the book in the middle of an action sequence, which pulled me right in without even feeling the need to try to get acquainted with the characters first. You get that little rush of adrenaline and curiosity overrides everything else. You don't know what's going on, but you do know that you can't keep yourself from wanting to know...and there you have it...you're stuck in the game.

Crafty, Morris...very, very crafty.

Mama and her brood of uglies

They come from what they term as "The Real," which they claim is on the other side of the veil. If you're into all of that alternative-spiritual/other-world stuff, you'd know what the veil is. The Real is vicious, The Real is cruel, it's every man for himself in The Real. That's what brings Mama and her band of ugly misfits into the human realm. The "Toy World" she calls it because humans are toys that exist for them to play with...or learn the lessons on cruelty Mama claims her children need to learn in order to survive their own world.

That's how it's always been in her family.

Hello Conovers

The book starts off with death, thanks to Mama and her brood, then goes on to the slight introduction of the Conovers; a family of four, making their way up north due to financial troubles and the fact that the father, an actor *and loser*, couldn't land a gig good enough to support his family. The plan is to move in with the mother-in-law and get a stable job. The wife seems pleasant enough and so does their son, who right off the bat, we're shown that he's not your average obnoxious 'tweenie boy. The daughter is a piece of work like her father is. Selfish, sarcastic, self-centered. Yup, that sums up the father/daughter duo.

It didn't take long for Mama and her kids to set their sights on the Conovers...and you wouldn't believe just how simple the reason that they were chosen was. I'll leave that up to you to find out.

Their game starts with a smiling face in a window, scaring the daylights out of the Conover boy, Michael. Nobody likes feeling like they're going bonkers. From that point, it turns into blatant stalking, you know how creepy it is when you're on a road trip...and you notice that everywhere you go, you see the same exact car or person? I had a bad Wolf Creek flashback while reading this. XD Soon, the stalking becomes more than just following them and faces in windows. Mrs Conover is knocked down in a gas station mini-mart, Alison, the Conover girl, meets Alvin and Ruby, 2 of Mama's children, outside of the Conover's motel room, and Michael see's and feels the other children's presence inside the motel room.

Nobody knows how, yet, but Mama and her brood are able to pass through doors and walls, they can come and go anywhere...they can see you or find you anywhere...and they do.

The Conovers get spooked and unintentionally draw in the next victim. Mama doesn't discriminate. Cops aren't to be feared, either...besides an enforcer toy could come in handy, right? The book really took off when Andy stepped into the story, in my opinion. He amped up the suspense and as the reader, I was torn between who I wanted to survive more. Cops get a bad rap in our world, but this guy was a good guy, and it felt like he got dealt a bad hand. His crime? Being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

From there, the story took me on a wave of emotions. I was anxious, angry, nervous, then impatient, and sad. Morris took a cliche concept (serial killer family killing travelers) and turned it into something more. It was a total shocker when I discovered Mama and her children weren't super humans, but something totally different...and at points in the book, I felt like I couldn't bring myself to hate her the way I wanted to because she had come across brainwashed about what they were doing. The book indirectly has you reflecting on moral aspects like that, without it being all in-your-face about it. It was a wild ride, but in the end it was a ride worth taking.

The ending satisfied me enough and it was fitting. I was saddened by the deaths of 2 out of 3 of my faves, but considering the fact that this is a horror story, it just wouldn't feel right if everyone I came to attach myself to survived.

What I didn't like very much was the cover of the book. It's eye-catching enough, but I feel that it's too generic for a story like this. If this book doesn't get much attention, I'd blame the cover, because I wouldn't look at it twice if I seen it on a shelf in a store. It's not so bad that I'd let it affect my overall rating of the book, though, which is a whopping 5 stars.

Do I recommend this book to others? You're damn skippy, I do. Hell, I recommend that it be put to film. I know I'd watch this if it was made into a movie.

If you're looking for a super-fast read and love feeling lost and helpless along with the characters, go for it. Even if you enjoy witnessing others feeling lost and helpless, read it. :-P


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review #4 - The Ritual

Title: The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Released: May 01, 2011. First published January 01, 2011
Copy Owned: Another freebie from the Goodreads First Reads Program, this is by far my favorite.

I wrote a pretty general review for this on the Goodreads site, but I'm going to be a bit more extensive here, so be warned that my entire review will pretty much be a spoiler.

We begin in the woods...

Four, much older, university buddies decide to go traipsing through Europe in an effort to reconnect with one another and leave the stress of their everyday lives behind for a weekend. Sounds simple and normal enough, doesn't it? I thought so, too.

Early on we discover that the "friends" aren't as friendly as we'd expect. Two of the four are a bit estranged from our protagonist, Luke. They're older, seemingly bitter, and in the essence of wandering through the woods, they're extremely out of shape. Marriage didn't do well for both Dom and Phil and neither did their business ventures. Because of this, Luke, our free-spirited ends up being the butt of their jokes and frustrations. Hutch, who seems to take the role of mediator, is the only one that seems to at least keep a cordial tone with Luke.

From there, we enter the woods, which are creepy in general...but imagine woods that haven't been touched much less walked through for what could be centuries. Woods where you're first greeted by an animal corpse hanging from a tree. Wouldn't that be enough to make you turn around and say "F*** THIS?"

It wasn't for the four explorers.

Hutch decides to take a short cut through the woods because of Dom and Phil's inability to keep up and that's where it all went down hill.

First, it was the dead animal in the tree. Next it was an abandoned house. Considering that if you were lost in a wood that hasn't been seen by humans for so log, you'd think an abandoned house would be a god-send...shelter. This wasn't your ordinary abandoned house. The foursome soon find bones, odd markings, an every other weird thing you can imagine that'd have you running into the darkness, trying to get as far away from the house as possible. Up the stairs, they find something worse...something grotesque...something that should have told them how much danger they were in, but they stupidly decide that even though it's shocking, it's nothing to be weary of.

They ransack they house, break anything wooden to burn for heat. Another thing that unsettled Luke.

That night, in that house, they all went to sleep fine...and woke up broken. Each had horrible dreams or visions about the monstrosity in the room above. Each were found in different places, suffering a different invisible torture. After trying to sort themselves out, they left the house, finally realizing they needed to find their way out.

Through the woods, they'd feel an intense ominous presence...they'd encounter makings, and try to distract each other.

They find a church...a rotten church...and discover more ancient markings and upon caving through the floor, they find human bones that are old enough to be noted as old but not old enough to be considered ancient. What freaks them out is some of the bones look like they came from children.

This is when Luke goes in survival mode. He's on guard, nervous, but set on not letting whatever it is that's out there take him without a fight.

One by one, they're taken by an unseen monster, marked only by it's scent and sounds...by the time Luke makes it outside of the woods, he's alone. Battered, bruised, and on the verge of dieing but he made it out.

Is this where we celebrate?


Enter 3 sociopaths and a hag.

The hag isn't really that bad. The 3 in her company are demon spawn, though...literally and figuratively speaking. What Luke endures in the wake of the 3 idiot-teers is almost as bad as what was in the woods. What makes it worse is that the 3 morons praise it, worship it, want to be of it...and on that notion, they want to make Luke their offering...to it.

The hag has something hiding in her "upstairs" room as well...I'll leave that to you to find out what it is, though.

This is the part of the story that irritates me. The part of the book that I'd have to stop reading every so often because of the annoyance it invokes. Imagine running from the biggest danger you could imagine, think you just got saved, and find out that you could possibly be in a worse spot.

The best part of this part of the story is that Luke gets even...as much as he could.

Exit 3 dead dummies and an old freak show.

This book is worthy of being called a horror story. Although, the plot seemed simple and cliche, Nevill painted extremely detailed scenarios, gave each character a purpose and infused it with a spirit that left me anxious, angsty, and afraid. I read tons of horror, and let me tell you that it takes a lot for me to feel this way. I literally had a knot in my stomach that wouldn't go away until it was time to put the book down.

The parts where he was describing their surroundings were so complete, one need only to shut their eyes and picture it. Nothing was left to imagination, not even the odors, the insects, the taste of blood, the aches and pains that were suffered. It was all there for you to read. Hell, at times it felt like more than reading...it felt like experiencing.

I loved this book...and don't let the 4.5 out of 5 stars that I gave it make you think otherwise. I deducted to .5 for personal reasons...okay, it was because he didn't get to beat the sh** out of one of the characters I truly despised, and although she died eventually, I felt cheated because he wasn't the one to kill her.

Yes, I'm petty like that.

I did love the book, though. This is one of those stories you know would be a good movie as it has all of the elements us horror fanatics enjoy. Too bad the world's still stuck on vampires and werewolves.

Horror fans, survival horror fans, I recommend this to you all. The end is a bit of a let down, but I guess when you've been through what Luke has, it's the only end to be had. He was alive.

Nevill, you're a genius.


Book Review #3 - Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories

Title: Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories by M.G. Edwards
Released: November 15, 2011.
Copy Owned: I received this book for free through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Program.

There isn't much to say about this sweet little freebie. It's a quick read of what seems like teasers to full, detailed stories. There is a variety of stories included from nonfiction memoirs to mythology and horror. Personally, my favorite was the mythology tidbit on Mysterious, being that I've never heard of that God in Greek mythology before. It was also the only short story that felt complete, even though it left me wanting more.

I also enjoyed the short story about the grandmother that had premonitions. Being that it's a short story, I feel like even if I said a little, I'd be saying too much.

You can pretty tell which stories were written earlier in Edwards' life because the feel of the stories, themselves, show different maturity levels as you read through.

This wasn't an ideal read for me because teasers leave me anxious, but I don't regret the short amount of time it took to read it.

I recommend this book to light readers that don't want to deal with anything heavy or too complex. I gave it 3 stars out of 5.

Happy Reading!


Book Review #2 - Diary of an Online Junkie

Title: Diary of an Online Dating Junkie by Dawn Marie
Released: November 11, 2011.
Copy Owned: I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Program

Just in case you're wondering, Goodreads only requires me to mention that I got the book for free from them on their own site. I mention it on my blogs here because maybe you, the viewer, have never heard of it before and would be interested in the program as well.

What bookworm wouldn't be interested in free books? Exactly! None!

Back to the review.

This is actually based on a true story, mainly, the author's very own. It's about Dawn, a thirty-something, mother of one, divorcee that's trying to find her "Mr. Right."

Now, let me say, I know absolute ZERO about this online dating business. I always thought it was the last resort for the lonely desperados of the world that had some physical issue or personality malfunction that didn't allow them to connect with people. Although, the book proves that's the case with some online daters, it's not the case for all of them.

Here's a little more of Dawn's background. She married a successful "party guy" type that wanted a "trophy wife." She had other ideas in mind and he eventually grew verbally and emotionally abusive before they parted ways.
Her childhood best-friend, Alec, had been in love with her during their younger years...and even though he was perfect...well, you know what happens once a guy's been a friend too long.

Anyway, it's her divorce and her present day bestie that pushes her to try online dating. Her first day, she becomes an addict. Is it really that addictive?

Needless to say, she chronicles all of her experiences with every man she dates, the good, the bad, and the disgusting and during this, she starts setting up little rules that she thinks will help narrow the choices and weed out the grodies. It doesn't work. There is something wrong with every man she meets.

"This one's fat and old."

"This one has kids and didn't mention it on his profile."

"This one isn't over 6'."

"This one isn't fashionable."

"This one sounds like Kermit the frog."

"This one would be perfect, but he's starting to bald."

Those aren't direct quotes from the book, but there's lots of that going on in the book. It makes her come across shallow, picky, and insensitive.

To be honest, it irritated the hell out of me.

Who the hell is she to be that much of a stickler when as perfect as she thinks she is, she's on a dating site because she can't find a man, herself!?!?

If this was a case of a man writing women off for being too old, too fat, too skinny, too flat-chested, etc, women all over would be outraged! Don't get me wrong, many men DO do that, but does that mean it's okay for us to do it to the good ones just in case?

We as women always want The Prince Charming and when one hops online in search of one then starts nitpicking, it's annoying to watch/read as it unfolds. Not only that, in my opinion, it makes jerks out of the already-small pool of good guys that still exist in the world.

Now, during her dates with the real weirdos, I can completely sympathize.


For instance, a guy that fits every criteria of Mr. Perfect on the surface, yet starts farting away when they start making out? Yeah, that one you can let go. If they were already seriously dating, farting wouldn't be a big deal, but we're talking about a few little nothing type dates. I nearly cried laughing about the entire situation, but when I thought back, it was gross...and soooo not sexy.

Then there was the potential date rape guy that made her fill out a questionaire before turning on the perverted charm. Yes, he slipped her a rufie, but lucky for her she left before any major damage could be done.

Finally, there was the male gold digger that she ended up marrying after just 9 days of knowing. He ended up being a verbally abusive drunkard that thought she'd be turned on by him prancing around in her lingerie. When she finally left him, he had ran through all of her money.

Those were the "attractive winners" she had chemistry with.


There were more bad experiences, but those stuck out to me...more so because I thought she was getting what she was advertising for. (Minus the date rape guy, NO woman deserves that!)

Aside from bad dates, nitpicking the wrong guys, and falling for losers, you find a lot of self-victimizing going on.

This woman really thought her sh*t didn't stink. Everything was "why me?" And "Why do I get all the losers?"

Uh...DUH...because that's what you want!!

If I didn't feel obligated to finish reading it so that I can write a review, I'd have tossed it. Not because I didn't like the book, but because I didn't like Dawn. I almost wish it was fiction because she's too whiny, clingy, and self-absorbed to wish upon the world.

Do I recommend this book to anyone? Maybe the people that have gone through similar experiences and want to laugh about the same things happening to someone else.

It's fast paced and there are parts in it that were funny enough to earn the book 3.5 stars out of 5 from me...but minus the comical parts, this book is irritating.

I didn't feel anything for Dawn at all. Well, nothing kind. I'm glad she finally found her Mr. Right, but the fact that she could've had him early in life if she wasn't such a dramatic pain-in-the-ass, just leaves me rolling my eyes.

The best thing about this book?

The eye-catching cover.

Book Review #1 - Yours, Mines, and Ours

Title: Yours, Mine, and Ours by MaryJanice Davidson
Released: February 28, 2012.
Copy Owned: I received an ARC of this book through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Program.

This was my first free book.

Now, let me say this, I had my doubts about the program, which is why I started entering for every book I seen show up on the listing. I didn't even remember entering for this because by the cover alone, I'd have assumed it was some gushy love story and the only love stories I'd read are historical ones. I checked my account and seen there wasn't a mistake and since I didn't want to be banned from the program on my first round, I gave it a shot.

This is not a gushy love story.

The book is the sequel to Davidson's Me, Myself, and Why? I never read the first book, but it had no affect on the read as the book felt like a stand-alone to me. If it didn't make the few references to the first story, I wouldn't have known there was a first story. Don't you mind that, though, they fill in what you don't know without it making you feel like you have to stop and wait until you find the first book.

The story is about an FBI Agent named Cadence Jones, her sisters, which are actually other personalities, her psychotic partner, George, and their new partner that suffers from mirror delusions, Emma Jan.

Already sounds strange, doesn't it? According to the book, they work for a government agency that hires agents upon their disabilities which, in this book, are their strengths.

The plan is to catch a serial murderer that's eluded them for three years and upon further investigation, or should I say fluke, they discovered the murders have actually gone on longer...much, longer.

That's kinda the boring stuff (if you can call this book boring, that is.) The fun stuff is the other 98 percent of the story. The book moves at a really fast pace and if you find yourself slightly confused, Adrienne, Cadence's sister might be why. Adrienne pops up at random intervals wreaking havoc and then disappearing as quick as she came. If you feel as if things suddenly shifted in the prickly direction, Shiro, Cadence's other, more controlled sister might be in control. Like I said, it moves fast and don't worry it's not as complicated as I'm making it seem.

My favorite part of reading this, is George. He's inappropriate, sarcastic, overly-sexed, yet in all of his dysfunction, he's compassionate and protective. It won't hit you until the end, though. He is literary comedy. Without him in this book, I doubt I would've enjoyed it as much as I did. His clever little quips, among his other ridiculous antics made the story for me.

Emma Jan is a new member with a weird dysfunction and an even weirder habit. I'll leave that for the reader to discover since I probably said too much about the other characters as it is.

Just know this. If you like quick, witty reads, more-than-your-average strange quirks, women that kick major butt, and smart mouthed men, you'll love this. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5, only because I hate the cover. The story, itself, would be a 5.

I reviewed it on Goodreads, but since it's still not out, I thought I'd write one here as well.

Happy Reading!


"Say Hello to my Little Friend"

Contrary to the heading, this has nothing to do with Scarface! HA! Wordpress' "Hello World" felt too generic and everything else that came to mind felt way too "cheeseball," so here I am along with my misleading title. :D

I don't watch too much television, I'm prone to starting art projects and abandoning them because I get bored after awhile, actually the same serves true for my crafts, too. One thing I can do is finish reading a good book.

Guess what else I can do! :o I can write about what I read! (oooh)

Not because I have to (aside from a freebie/review trade, but a review for getting a free book isn't asking for much, right?), not because I was asked to, but simply because the book and author don't expect anything but for the reader to enjoy or get something out of the experience.

I've noticed that self-published authors have a harder time of getting "out there," but truth be told, I rarely notice if one is self-published or not. Maybe, because it doesn't matter to me. Sure, I'm as guilty as the next for seeing a popular author's name and gravitating to the book, assuming it'll be great. Yet, I don't really discriminate. I'm just as likely to be drawn to a book from someone I've never ever heard of, get intrigued by the synopsis, and wanting to read it just as much.

I'm not above reading any book from anyone if I'm into the genre.

I don't expect a to get a stampede of followers or anything, but it can't hurt to have yet one more blog dedicated to my favorite and most active hobby.

On that note, you can find me on Goodreads and Wattpad voting, reading, and reviewing. Now, I have a blog to add my GR reviews, too. ;)