Book Review: Two and Twenty Dark Tales (Anthology)

Two and Twenty Dark Tales:  Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

Edited by:  Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink

Publisher:  Month9Books

Genre:  Horror

This anthology is available as an ebook and paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

It’s always hard to decide what to rate anthologies.  Some stories are amazing and others bore me.  So, I decided to to highlight the short stories that were dark, disturbing, and make this anthology worth buying.  5/23 lived up to their promise to be haunting.  These 5 stories were A+++.

Clockwise by Leah Cypress – A retelling of the hickory dictory dock rhyme.  Amarind was a princess transformed into a mouse and only the magic of a clock switched her back to a human.  She has to unravel the mystery behind the enchantment with the help of a witch.

Boys and Girls Come Out to Play by Angie Frazier – Bronywn tries to save her sister from the Beckoning, but she soon learns that you can’t deceive the witches in the woods.

Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling – She can’t understand why her mother keeps getting pregnant when there’s no money to feed the children she has.

The Well by K.M. Walton – Jack and Jill are the only two left alive after a deadly virus kills everyone else in the world.

The Wish by Suzanne Young – Lauren hates her life so much that she makes a deadly wish upon a star.

A copy of Two and Twenty Dark Tales was provided by the publisher (Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Since there are so many authors, I’m only going to spotlight the ones from the stories I loved in this anthology.

Leah Cypress – website  |  Changelings – a FREE collection of short stories  |  Mistwood –  A Kirkus 2010 Best Book for Teens

Angie Frazier – website  | Everlasting – YA historical fantasy  |  The Midnight Tunnel – first in a MG mystery series

Heidi R. Kling – website  |  Witch’s Brew – YA active fiction paranormal story

K.M. Walton – website  | Cracked – YA contemporary about bullying

Suzanne Young – website  |  A Need So Beautiful – YA angel book  |  My reviews of A Need So Beautiful and A Want So Wicked  (Can you tell I LOVE this author?)

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5 Star Review: Characters

So what is 5 star review?  Well, this is where, as a reviewer, I let you know what makes me rate your book 5 stars – or not.  This week’s topic: characters.

Please note that some things that turn me off to your book as a reader/reviewer turn others on and vice versa.


Characters

There’s so much I could write about characters, so I picked just a few things.  Characters in books I rate 5 stars are likeable, evolving, and complex.  Characters are the “who” of the story.  We typically think of them as people, but animals, and even objects can be personified and become characters.

  1. You could describe an ant as hardworking and persistent.  You could write a story about how an ant overcame seemingly impossible odds to find food and feed its colony.
  2. You could write a story about a train that wants to take a trip off of the tracks – oh, wait…that’s called The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper.

But there needs to be someone or something that is the center of the story.  Someone that we can connect to as a reader.  Someone that is likeable.  This would be your POV (point of view) character.  The reader needs to be able to “feel” and “care” for the people telling the story.  Would you go to a random person’s wedding or high school graduation?  Do you cry when you read the obituary section in the newspaper?  If you have nothing invested in these people, then no…you don’t care.  The closer you become with the people, the more you are affected by what happens in “their” life.

I love You.  I hate You.  Either way, I care enough to notice you.

Now, don’t confuse “likeable” with good.  Sometimes the villain is more likeable than the hero – like Hannibal Lector vs Will Graham in Red Dragon by Thomas Harris or Megamind vs Metroman (yes, I know…a movie!).  Sometimes the hero is horribly flawed like Sherlock Holmes – socially inept.  Humpert Humpert in Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – pedophile.  And if you can make both the villain and the hero likeable, that’s even more awesome.

And likeable certainly does not mean perfect.  Think about it.  Would you want your best friend to be rich beyond belief, gorgeous, athletic, brilliant, and extremely lucky?  And why don’t we also make this person have a few supernatural powers and be the Chosen One.  No, I don’t think you want to be friends with Mary Sue.  Besides the obvious jealousy, readers have trouble relating to a character like that.  You have flaws, therefore your characters should have flaws.

And CLUMSY is not a big enough game changer of a flaw to be the only flaw.  Unless…you plan on your character tripping, smacking into the villain and the villain’s extended knife, which is perfectly positioned to plunge into the heat, and the character dies.  If that happens, I can say, “Man, I’d rather be ugly than clumsy.  At least no one ever died from being too ugly.”  Then, and only then will you get full points in the character department with an otherwise completely Mary Sue character.

The Story of Evolution

There are two types of characters:  those that change over the course of the novel (dynamic) and those that stay the same (stagnant).  Most novels have both characters.  The key to having dynamic characters is to make their evolution from the starting person to the end a very believable transition.  The change in the characters need to be proportional to the situation for it to be believable.  You can either have a lot of minor events that contribute to the change or you can have one major event that triggers a change.

Character trait:  Character is a loyal wife.  Then she has an affair.

  • Believable:  Scene after scene we have the wife doing things without her husband.  He spends no time with her and she grows increasingly lonely, until she meets someone to fill the void – a neighbor.
  • Not-believable:  Husband forgot take out trash.  Wife screws her neighbor when she sees him at his trash can next door.

Character trait:  Character used to love spending all her time with animals.  Not anymore.

  • Believable:  Character quits veterinarian job after own pet dies and there was nothing she could do to save Fluffy.  Every animal she sees reminds her of her dead dog and she can’t bear it.
  • Not-believable:  Character quits veterinarian job because ants have invaded her kitchen and THIS MEANS WAR!  Every animal is a potential enemy now.

A thousand faces

Do you act the same way in front of your parents or your boss as you do your friends?  Your lover?  If the answer is yes, then please find the nearest exit and “get a life”.  teenagers especially treat different people differently.  They might be more joking around their friends.  Quieter around someone they like.  And more conservative (both in dress and speech) in front of their parents.  There might be conflicting information for the reader.

Example:  Suzy tells John that she can’t stand Bobby, but Suzy then tells Bobby that she likes hanging around him.

What does this mean?  It means that either Suzy is hiding her true feelings from John about Bobby or Suzy is hiding her true feelings from Bobby about himself.  To one of these guys, Suzy is honest.  To the other guy, Suzy is a liar.  She is still one person, but has conflicting character traits.  She is complex and that’s how I like my characters.

Readers:  What do you think makes a character likeable?

Short Story Saturday #12

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published or small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!
 

Z is for Zombie by Philip Hansen

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre:  Horror

This 21 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

It’s the end of the world as we know it… and nothing is fine.

Mack, Skinny, Navarette and El Tee are Echo Squad, soldiers on the frontlines of the zombie war. Faced with an army of zombies that hungers for all flesh to be eaten their tiny group must survive deadly decap zombies and wicked clever roamer zombies in time for an aerial assault that will change the face of the battleground against the living dead.

Z is for Zombie is an action-packed gun-porn short story in the world of the living dead.

This is a man’s story.  A story worthy of a man cave and the story to read between Halo 3 matches.  I wasn’t surprised to learn that the author is an avid gamer (as am I) and the utter pwnage of the characters over the zombies in the novels was epic…like purple epic…like I just beat the hidden cow level epic.  Okay, okay.  Seriousness.  This is a story about soldiers…in a zombie apocalypse.  They talk like soldiers and there is quite a bit of military jargon used in the story.  I loved the dialogue.  The descriptions are so vivid.  The pacing and action is super fast.  The plot and characters feel so authentic and intense that I just have a need to read the story out loud – and then I realize that I probably shouldn’t in front of my kid.  I don’t want to explain what “headshot” means.

Warning:  excessive cursing  violence, and gore.

I do have one complaint – the text is in a stupid font and non-adjustable.  Besides that, this is a pretty awesome short story.

5 Star Review: Pacing

So what is 5 star review?  Well, this is where, as a reviewer, I let you know what makes me rate your book 5 stars – or not.  This week’s topic: pacing

Please note that some things that turn me off to your book as a reader/reviewer turn others on and vice versa.


Pacing

Since we’re talking about good pacing this week, I promise that I won’t ramble on like I have with these topics before.  I’ve read quite a few books that suffer from a lack of good pacing.  I think one of the biggest amateur author mistakes is including too much non-relevant information.  There has to be a point to every scene.  Worse is when the pacing slows on the “boring” parts of the characters’ stories and speeds up when the “exciting” stuff happens.  It’s frustrating to read four or five pages about Mindy drinking her morning coffee and then two sentences about how she ran over a guy last summer.  Why couldn’t there be five pages about the hit and run instead?  Even as a flashback, it is much more entertaining than reading about someone eating or driving a car or sleeping.

So, what is the pace of a story?  It is how fast the plot advances in the story.  The plot advances much faster in action scenes than in narratives and the writing on the page should reflect this change.  Let’s start by focusing on this post.  The top section of the post is wordy and the text takes up the entire page from left to right.  It will take you, as the reader, double the amount of time to read these two paragraphs than to read the next two “sections”.

How to speed up the pace:

  1. – Shorter sentences
  2. – Less descriptions
  3. – More action
  4. – Back and forth dialogue.

How to slow down the pace:

  1. – Long, complex sentences
  2. – More descriptions
  3. – Minimal action
  4. – Monologues/narrative

Of course, there needs to be a balance.  Too much white on a page is just as tiring as too little.  I like a very fast pace “thriller” feel to the books I read.  In my mind, if the characters aren’t talking or the characters aren’t moving, then it’s not important.  Long narratives lose my interest quickly and so do long monologues, which tend to happen when the author is trying to “info-dump” through dialogue.  Other readers might enjoy the slower sections of the novel to relax their mind and “take a breather” so to speak.

Books that I thought had awesome pacing:

Books that I thought had problems with pacing

Reader:  Do you like fast paced books, leisurely paced books, or something in between?  Or does it depend on the genre?

Short Story Saturday #11

Welcome to this week’s edition of Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are both self-published/small press published and worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!
Sorry about the late posting.  It’s been a crazy weekend. 

After the Darkness (Episode One) by SunHi Mistwalker

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre:  Dsytopian

This 27 page story is available as an ebook from Amazon.  More reviews can be found on Goodreads.

Even in a world of never-ending winters and permanent darkness, fourteen-year-old Nadia Comani has everything she could ever want: power, privilege, a loving family and most importantly warmth. But her family’s refusal to compromise their values changes everything. Nadia is cast down from her pedestal of power onto the trash heap of the lower classes. No longer guaranteed a life of ease, Nadia faces a future of servitude. Branded as powerless and deviant, will Nadia muster the strength to save herself and what remains of her family?

This dystopian short short is descriptive to the point where the metaphors and imagery does slow the pacing of the story.  I would recommend that you read this story without distractions and truly let yourself be absorbed by the world the author paints with her images.  Not much is known about Nadia’s “normal” life in the beginning of the story, as she is abducted along with her sister within the first couple of pages.  The situation is bleak for Nadia and the people treat her more like a slave than a princess.  For someone who enjoys “darker” stories, I enjoyed the beginning chapters of Nadia’s tale.  I did notice one missing word from a sentence (72%)- but besides that both the formatting and grammar are good.  And as a warning, Episode One does end on a cliffhanger.

Note:  The cover was recently redesigned.  I think the new one looks awesome.

About the author:

Author of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. Mistwalker enjoys writing books about how societal collapse can change individuals and families. She specifically explores class, economics, environmentalism and state sponsored oppression within post-apocalyptic and dystopian futures.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Cover Reveal: Phoebe Pope and the Year of the Four by Nya Jade

Cover by PhatPuppy Art

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade

Publisher:  Dreamwell Publishing

Genre:  YA Fantasy

This book is expected to be released in Nov 2012.  You can find out more information on Goodreads.

Overall Thoughts:

I love how vibrant the colors on this cover are.  It truly is a piece of art and I would buy on the cover alone…that’s how much I love it.   Of course, I also have a soft spot for books with schools for “special” children, so that also makes this book worth tagging “to-be-read”.

Book Description:

The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . . 

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above. 

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth. 

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself–and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive. 

Giveaway:

Singer-songwriter Nya Jade is celebrating the upcoming release of her debut YA novel, Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four, with a Tiffany & Co. gift card giveaway!!

  • (2) $100 Gift Cards.
  • US only

Tiffany & Co. gift cards are redeemable at all Tiffany & Co. locations, as well as at tiffany.com.

 Click HERE to enter the giveaway.

About the Author

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website

 

Cover Reveal: Fire by Shauna Granger

*Cover Design is by Mooney Designs and the reveal organized by AToMR Tours.*

Fire (Elemental #4) by Shauna Granger

Publisher:  Self published
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Fire is expected to release on December 18, 2012.  

Overall Thoughts:

It’s refreshing to see a male on a YA cover.  I really like how each book in the series covers a different element and this one captures the fire element perfectly.  I haven’t read any of the series yet, but if the writing is as magical as the covers, I know that I won’t be disappointed.

Book Description:

Demons, faeries, and mermaids. Claws, teeth, and nightmares.

They have been beaten and bruised, set on fire, and nearly drowned, but manage to always find their way home.  Over their last Winter Holiday break before college, Shayna, Jodi, and Steven try again to put aside the magic in their lives for a little mundane fun. But Shayna’s mother is having dreams of fire and death. A mysterious stranger by the name of Liam has just arrived in town. And Shayna’s attempts to manage her new angelic powers are set back by Steven’s insistence that the trio intervene in a riot outside of a concert, with disastrous consequences.

In her attempt to stop the riot, a man sees Shayna use her magical abilities – a man driven mad by watching his brother die at the hands of a black witch. He stalks Shayna, plotting to destroy her and her friends. With her mother’s warnings echoing in her mind, Shayna is now in the fight of her life against an unlikely foe: a human man.

Other Covers in the Series:

Links to find/buy previous books in the series:

About the Author:

Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago Shauna started work on her Elemental Series and released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011. When not reading and writing, Shauna enjoys cooking and playing hostess whenever she can.

Shauna GrangerFacebookTwitter

What do you think of the covers?  Have you read the other books in this series yet?

Book Review: Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

I originally agreed to review this book back in August and expected to get to it on my TBR list last month.  Had I known how much I would of liked it, I would have read it the instant the author sent it to me.  I suppose that one good thing about waiting is that the sequel The Burning Bush released September 28th, so I don’t have to wait long before finding out what happens next with Lenore.  You can check out more information on Burning Bush (Habitat #2) on Goodreads.  I haven’t had much luck with Urban Fantasy books, but Fire Baptized changed my mind about removing that genre from the list of books I review.  Check out my review below and then make sure you pick up your own copy.

And dare I say this….I’ve had amazing luck with books this week.  I think I’ve loved every single one of them!


Fire Baptized (Habitat #1) by Kenya Wright

Publisher:  Dragonfairy Publishing

Genre: Urban Fantasy

You can buy it on ebook or paperback Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.

Review:

Overview:  I was seriously done with urban fantasy and paranormal romance.  I’ve began to feel like it’s the same old characters with the same old problems and they all end the same.  Urban fantasy in particular has disappointed me lately and I admit that it took me much longer than it should have to finally read this book.  After reading the first chapter of Fire Baptized, I KNEW that this was special and different.  First off, this main character is not a detective or in law enforcement.  Secondly, Lenore is not your average female.  Thirdly, this book is much darker and more disturbing than most urban fantasies.  This book never scared me but there were several disturbing and gory scenes that gave it a horror feel at times.  Fourthly (is that a word?), Lenore is part of the underclass and the segregation and class differences/lack of rights is really compelling.

Characters:  There is a love triangle, but this is no love triangle you’ve ever read before.  Lanore has two male companions who both want to be with her.  She refuses to be exclusive and instead chapter by chapter she alternates between the two men becoming more and more involved with each one.  This drives MeShack and Zulu crazy with jealousy, but they only pursue her further.  In other words, Lanore is a playa.  This role, usually reserved for males, makes for a very entertaining read.  I couldn’t guess which one she wanted and I’m guessing that she would have been happy with both – had the guys agreed.  There are some awesome lines in this book:

“I don’t need your protection.”  I extended my hand to the side, pushed a large fireball out of my palm, and said, “Wow, look at that.  Isn’t that amazing? I did it all by myself. I can dress myself and wipe my own ass, too.”  – Lenore to Zulu.

Plot:  The book begins with Lanore witnessing a murder and the murderer knows.  Lanore notifies the police but she’s unsatisfied with being idle and searching for the identity of the murderer on her own.  Be careful which characters you get attached to in Fire Baptized, but the murderer is not satisfied with killing only one person.I appreciated the details the author made to make this fantasy world seem authentic.  There were several references to historical events that she put an urban fantasy spin.  Like, the black panthers were actually black panther shapeshifters.

Ending:  The mystery of who the killer is (and who Lenore will be with) is solved, but Lenore (and the reader) gets a glimpse of something at the end, which will change everything she thought she knew.  It’s a decent end to this part of her life, but I’m so thrilled that the next book is already released so that I don’t have to wait too long before finding out what happens in her life next.

Book Description:

Since the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.

Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.

Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend MeShack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention.

While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?

Rating:  A

An urban fantasy containing a love triangle with almost too much love.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Kenya Wright always knew she would be famous since the ripe old age of six when she sung the Michael Jackson thriller song in her bathroom mirror. She has tried her hand at many things from enlisting in the Navy for six years as a Persian-Farsi linguist to being a nude model at an art university.

However, writing has been the only constant love in her life.

So here we are Kenya is publishing her first book, Fire Baptized, the urban fantasy novel she always wanted to read. This novel is the first book in a series.

Will she succeed? Of course.

For she has been coined The Urban Fantasy Queen, the Super Iconic Writer of this Age, The Lyrical Genius of Our Generation. Granted, these are all terms coined by her, within the private walls of her bathroom as she still sings the Michael Jackson thriller song.

Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on Kenya’s head at night.


Book Review: Arcadian Genesis by Greig Beck

Arcadian Genesis by Greig Beck

Publisher:  Momentum Books

Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure

Arcadian Genesis released September 1st, 2012.  You can buy it on ebook Amazon, iTunes bookstore, Kobo, or Booki.sh.  More reviews available on Goodreads and more information available on the publisher’s website.

Review:

The first thing I noticed when reading Arcadian Genesis was how vivid and complete the world of Alex Hunter was.  It’s like the author slipped on his favorite pair of shoes when writing this book.  It’s so polished that you’d think Alex Hunter himself was writing the book.  Being written (mostly) from the POV of an emotionally detached guy, there is some trouble feeling for the other characters, which is a good thing considering how many deaths there are in this book.  And in some chapters, there is so much carnage and chaos that you’re not quite sure who is left alive until the next chapter begins.

I must say that the pacing is incredibly fast for the majority of the story, and you really have to pay close attention or you’ll lose track of what’s going on very quickly (and with a small child running around, I did have to reread some parts).  Every word counts in this story and by the end of the book, you’ll feel like you read a story twice as thick because of how much information, world-building, and action is crammed into Arcadian Genesis.

As far as technical care, Greig Beck’s writing feels a lot like Brad Thor, but Alex Hunter is way less of a ladies man than Harvath.  Alex is consumed by revenge for the deaths of his family and no detailed is spared in exactly how he transforms into a cold-blooded killer.  Lots of gore and death.  No character is safe.  For anyone that has read other books in this series, you know how it ends.  For anyone else, you will be surprised.

Book Description:

Alex Hunter – in the mission that turned him from a normal man into the weapon known as the Arcadian – and the elite team of soldiers known as the Hotzone All-Forces Warfare Commandos must enter a hostile country to rescue a defected Chechen researcher from the center of a country at war.

But the HAWCs are not the only ones looking for the rogue scientist and the mysterious package he carries with him. A brutal and relentless killer and his death squad are on the trail too – and they bring a savagery with them that Hunter and his team have never witnessed before in modern warfare.

In this stunning prequel to Beneath the Dark Ice, the HAWC team must race the clock to rescue the scientist, prevent the package from falling into the wrong hands … and save the world from a horror that should never have been woken.

Arcadian Genesis features a sample chapter from Greig Beck’s forthcoming novel Black Mountain.

This is the prequel to the Alex Hunter series.  Check out the covers to the other books in this series.

Rating:  A

This is a great book for those who want grit of an action novel in a vivid science fiction world.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

(Information borrowed from Goodreads.)

I’m an Australian author residing in Sydney with my wife, son and oversized black German Shepherd named Jess. My novels are now available in more than ten countries, and coming soon in full AUDIO format.

I grew up spending my days surfing at Bondi Beach before entering a career in Information technology which took me around the world. After completing an MBA, i was appointed both an Australasian director of a multinational software company, and tasked with setting up the USA arm of the organisation.

Today, I’m still involved in IT, but spend most of my time writing… with plenty left over for surfing.


Book Review: Swamp Monster Massacre by Hunter Shea

Swamp Monster Massacre by Hunter Shea

Publisher:  Samhain Publishing

Genre: Horror

You can buy it on ebook Amazon or from the publisher’s website.  More reviews available on Goodreads.

I’m not sure what I expected from this novella, but Swamp Monster Massacre was one hell of a fun book to read.  As typical of monster novels (and movies) there is a very large cast in the beginning of the book and a much smaller cast by the end.  There are some characters that didn’t have much opportunity to develop before they suffered a very painful and gory death, but the ones that survived until the end definitely had my vote.  I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that I liked it.  And as much as I love horror novels, I typically hate how stories in this genre end.  Not so with this book.  It ended perfectly.  There was just enough closure to know that the worst could be over for the survivors.

I did enjoy the fact that the characters had a different flavor than what I’m used to.  The star of the show was the original bad guy.  The rest of the cast is different and enough is said about them to know that they’re typical people who got on the wrong boat.  I’m pretty sure that none of them will ever decide to tour the Florida Everglades again.  I did have a hell of a fun time reading it, but I wasn’t scared.  This is more focused on the gore and if you like brains and dismembered limbs, than this is a perfect book for you.

Book Description:

Deep in the overgrown swamps of Florida, where humans rarely dare to enter, lives a race of creatures long thought to be only the stuff of legend. They walk upright but are stronger, taller and more brutal than any man. And when a small boat of tourists, held captive by a fleeing criminal, accidentally kills one of the swamp dwellers’ young, the creatures are filled with a terrifyingly human emotion—a merciless lust for vengeance that will paint the trees red with blood.

Rating:  B

This book guarantees hours of entertainment for monster lovers.

I received a copy of this book as part of the RABT tour in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Hunter Shea is the author of the novels Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal, as well as the upcoming Swamp Monster Massacre and Sinister Entity. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on. He is also half of the Monster Men video podcast, a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

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