Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: City of Night

City of Night (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #2)City of Night by Dean Koontz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

New Orleans, Dean Koontz's City of Night. Home of the blues, jazz, and Anne Rice's vampires. And Victor Helios (nee Frankenstein). Police Detectives Carson O'Conner and Michael Maddison have encountered Victor's latest attempt at creating life, and with the help of Frankenstein's original monster, now calling himself Deucalion, they managed to stop (or at the very least slow down) Victor's run at world domination. (See book 1: Prodigal Son)

While Victor has managed to create life from lifelessness, he also restricted them by making them subservient to him, and unable to hurt themselves or Victor. He is the master, and all must obey. But some of his creations are self-destructing. And some are changing.

At the end of book 1, Deucalion, Carson, and Michael chase after one of these changelings, only to have it disappear into the city. Now they must find it and any others who might be out there, while trying to expose Victor's ultimate plan. And Victor, who has been oblivious to the changelings until now, must try to learn why his perfect creations are going so very wrong. Events are spiraling quickly out of control. We can only hope that our heroes can save the day, New Orleans, and the world.

This 2nd volume of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series was co-written with Ed Gorman, an incredible thriller/horror writer in his own right (click on his name to learn more about him). Between the two of them they have continued Frankenstein's legacy and actually managed to make us feel sympathy for Victor's monsters. Victor remains, however, the quintessential villain, and readers will have no trouble rooting for our heroes in their quest to stop his machinations. This is another excellent tale and a fabulous continuation of the series. Stay tuned for my review of book 3: Dead and Alive.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Killer Valentine Ball

Full disclosure. "The Killer Valentine Ball" is published by my own publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. I purchased this book myself and I was not asked to do a review.


Vital Statistics:
Author: C. A. Verstraete
Pages: 15
Light Horror 
MuseItUp Publishing

A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser?, Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.

I'm not a huge horror reader. Okay, I really don't like it at all. However, the description said "light horror", so I figured I could give it a try. I'm glad I did. I really liked this piece.

It's short. I read it in less time than it took for the bath water to turn cold. However, I think that's the charm of this piece. It wouldn't work as a long novel, but does succeeds on the small scale.

I can't give it full marks because I was really annoyed at the main character, Jessica, in the opening scene. Perhaps it's my upbringing, but any man who makes any unwanted physical contact with my body generally ends up with his fingers broken. I let it go, and am glad I did. However, I would have at least liked a bit more about how annoyed she was or something...instead she just reapplies her lip gloss. That got my blood up a bit.

ebook comment: Page 1 and 3 are blank on the epub version. You aren't missing anything; those seem to be just spaces between the cover page and the publisher info pages. I did report it to the publisher, however, as it really freaked me out upon first reading. Blank pages are scary on an ereader!

This short story is a great price at $0.99. Best for those who don't mind a tiny bit of gore and are looking for a quick and satisfying end. 


Buy Link

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Prodigal Son

Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #1)Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This has to be one of the spookiest stories I've read in a long time. Dean Koontz and Kevin Anderson have taken the classic Frankenstein story and continued it into the modern day. In other words, Victor Frankenstein is still alive. When our heroine, Carson O'Connor, a police detective, stumbles across evidence of Victor's current experiments, she opens up a kettle of fish that puts her, her partner, and her family in peril. Cue the cavalry! But, surprise! The cavalry is none other than Victor's original monster. The monster calls himself Deucalion now, and no one is more surprised than he that Victor has managed to survive all these years. Deucalion teams up with Carson and Michael Maddison, her partner, to try to stop Victor's evil machinations before the city goes straight to hell in Frankenstein's handbasket. If you enjoy your stories complete with evil mad scientists bent on world domination, you can't go wrong with Prodigal Son, the first in Koontz's Frankenstein series. Stay tuned for a review of Book Two: City of Night.

Link to where you can buy the eBook

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Seven Deadly Sins

Vital Stats

Seven Deadly Sins - AXP Flash Fiction Challenge #1

Contributors: Eileen Bell, Roxanne Felix, Tina Hunter, Billie Milholland
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: March 7, 2009
Seven Deadly Sins is a short, but fun book. This was my first introduction to the concept of flash fiction and it was a good one. I began dabbling into the realm of flash fiction because of this book.
What's flash fiction? Simply put, it's a short story that's 1000 words or less. You can read it in a handful of minutes and get a complete story.
I've come across a lot of flash fiction since first reading this book that tried to be really intelligent and just comes across as pompous and pointless. I didn't find any of the stories of "Seven Deadly Sins" fell into that category. In fact, I enjoyed them all, a rare occurrence for me and any kind of collection.
My particular favourite story? Lust. The book is worth buying just for that story alone.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grounds for Murder

Full disclosure. "Grounds for Murder" is published by my own publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. I purchased this book myself and I was not asked to do a review.


First things first. The title is awesome. Cover art? Absolutely rocking.

I openly admit that I haven't read much mystery since high school, so I'm quite rusty on the genre. I'm not sure how it's supposed to read, how character development should be, and so on.

I'm used to character-driven novels, so this book threw me for a loop. It is plot-driven and I found myself only caring about "how done it" as opposed to the main character. Perhaps I went in with the wrong expectations?

Plot-wise, I enjoyed the story enough to finish to the end. In fact, I read half of it in the bath and put it aside. I came back to it an hour later because I was curious to see how it would end. As someone who gets bored easily in plot-driven novels, it says a lot that I wanted to keep reading.

I wasn't a fan of the characters. For me, they were not developed enough. I wasn't sure who the main character of the story was until chapter 2. If you are expecting a plot-driven story, this probably won't bother you. It did bother me, however.

There was one thing that really bugged me: the obsession with lawsuits. I'm Canadian and I know we joke up here about Americans and their law suits. But, in all seriousness, do people really threaten each other all of the time with libel suits? It was rather strange for me.

I'd recommend this to people who are used to plot-driven stories and who are looking for an amateur sleuth story that can be finished in an evening.

Buy link

Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead

Vampires have evolved…Meet the twenty-first century vampire!
Edited by: Nancy Kilpatrick, Published by: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2010
There was a time I liked vampires. Incubus, Succubus, Spike. Then it came. You know what I’m talking about. At times, I feared that I would go stark raving mad if I had to hear about or read another story with either “sparkles” or “Sookie” in it.
I bought Evolve several months ago at a vendor’s table here in town. The cover art is what struck me to pick it up. The cover is stunning, capturing the “demon inside” part of the vampire myth. I enjoy a good anthology on occasion, as it exposes me to authors that I have never heard of, and yet write things I might enjoy. Evolve has added several authors to my “must read” list.
While the anthology is classed as “horror and dark fantasy,” it really isn’t what I’d class as horror. Don’t get me wrong; there are some horror stories. In particular, I made the mistake of reading “All You Can Eat, All The Time” by Claude Lalumiere before supper.  However, most of the stories focus on the day-to-day culture of vampires in our society. A few were quite funny.
Many sported “Canadian Endings” (not happy ever after, not even happy right now; just plain acceptance of life and circumstances), which I enjoyed seeing. No surprise since nearly all of the authors are Canadian-born. I enjoyed the touches of Canadiana, such as Kevin Cockle’s “Sleepless in Calgary.”
I didn’t enjoy all of the stories. I’m not a fan of present tense nor second person (i.e. You walk into a room), unless it’s in a choose-your-adventure novel. Still, I enjoyed plenty of the stories, with “Learning Curve” (Kelley Armstrong) and “The New Forty” (Rebecca Bradley) at the top of my list. It was great to see Tanya Huff contributing to the anthology as well.
I highly recommend picking up this collection if you are a fan of vampires and want to see a new take on the supernatural beings.

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