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Sunday, 19 May 2019

GHOST MINE by Hunter Shea

Deep in a Wyoming mine, hell awaits. Nat Blackburn is given an offer he can't refuse by President Teddy Roosevelt. Tales of gold in the abandoned mining town of Hecla abound. The only problem - those who go seeking their fortune never return. Along with his constant companion, Teta, a hired gun with a thirst for adventure, Nat travels to a barren land where even animals dare not tread. Black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men venture from the deep, dark ghost mine...as well as a sinister force hungry for fresh souls.


When I picked up this Flame Tree Press ARC a few days ago, I was instantly hooked and didn't want to put it down. But really, I shouldn't be surprised because last year I absolutely LOVED Hunter Shea's book, Creature.

Anyway, let's talk about this one.

When President Roosevelt calls on his friend to solve a mystery of what happened to his men in the middle of nowhere, Nat agrees to take on the case. With his good friend Teta by his side, they board a train and leave New York.

Together, these tough guys travel halfway across the country to investigate what happened in Hecla, a mining town that's now become a ghost town. A place that feels wrong, turns out to be creepy as hell, and is hiding a very deep and dark secret inside the abandoned mines...

Wow. This is one awesome and totally addictive book! It was hard to put down because everything that happened was totally unexpected.

I also thought it was such a well-written book, full of sympathetic and interesting characters that I had a blast following across the rough terrain of a changing world. I really enjoyed how in this story, the Wild West was slowly being overshadowed by trains, automobiles and a changing landscape.

Not only is Nat's voice compelling and totally engrossing, but Teta (his name cracked me up every single time!) was also such a cool, kick-ass character. A sidekick with as much personality as the main character. Their past together provided an excellent background, and their strong friendship was even better. As for Selma, well, she's got enough spunk and attitude to match both of them. I really liked her.

I also didn't expect to like Matthias and Angus as much as I did. They added to the very dark mythology our trio find themselves drowning in.

I'm not kidding when I say I enjoyed the hell out of every moment I spent reading this fantastic book. Just like Dust Devils, I don't think I've ever had this much fun reading about cowboys. I think horror westerns really work for me. 🤠

Ghost Mine turned out to be an incredibly insane, super creepy and amazingly fun horror adventure with some really menacing creatures. The action kept coming almost as quickly as the weird. The supernatural mystery at the heart of the story is enough to keep anyone who dares start this book glued to the pages, and you'll never guess where it's going because it's so unpredictable.

There's a certain surreal and nightmarish atmosphere in this story that I thought was outstanding, and kept everything under an eerie blanket of WTF. There's SO MUCH thrown into this book and every single outlandish piece fits together to keep the story well-oiled and moving right along.

I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone and everyone who enjoys a quirky, action-packed tale full of memorable characters you'll miss after finishing the last page.

Seriously, check it out!

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

RED AS BLOOD AND WHITE AS BONE by Theodora Goss

Red as Blood and White as Bone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this story online yesterday and because the title is so cool and the cover is beautiful, today I decided to read it.

Klara is a young girl who works in the kitchen of a castle. She's also obsessed with fairy tales and is convinced she's going to someday stumble into one. Not as the main player, but one who is in the background.

When a naked woman stumbles into the kitchen one rainy day, Klara's convinced this stranger is a princess. So she decides to help her, with surprising results...

That's about as much as I'll reveal about the plot, because this is a story worth reading. It's a fairy tale in its own right. It's the story of a girl considered so unimportant she's virtually invisible, and shows how this revelation shapes her life and turns her into a courageous woman.

I loved Klara. She was so pure and even though her days were filled with endless chores, she was so full of life. And the way she adored fairy tales was absolutely charming. It was almost as if she expected to find one around every corner.

Oh, and you know what was absolutely awesome too? That this story takes place before WWII and beyond. It's so refreshing to read such a magical fairy tale set in 20th-century Europe. Loved that!

The ending was also very cool, because it leads right back to one of my fave creatures of myth.

BTW, you can read this awesome story for free right HERE.


GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Good Omens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really looking forward to reading this book before the show hits, so finding an old paperback copy in a local thrift store was perfect. And when I started reading, I was drawn into the story right away.

Crowley and Aziraphale are an interesting pair. A demon who likes to speed down city roads. An angel who loves old, rare books. Together, they decide to stop Armageddon. After all, they did have a part in the Antichrist mix-up. 😬

Eleven years later, the Antichrist who is supposed to bring on the End of Times might not be the kid they've been keeping tabs on...

Okay. Where do I start with this book? Sadly, I didn't love it. I liked it and found some situations amusing, but I didn't think it was hilarious. Actually, I hardly laughed.

I also thought there were too many irrelevant POVs sprinkled with the already HUGE cast of characters. And unfortunately, after reaching the halfway mark, I found myself doing quite a bit of skimming. Without missing out on anything important. 😧

I don't know what happened but once I reached the halfway mark, the pace started to slow. Suddenly, there were too many unnecessary details and I started getting sleepy whenever I sat down to read.

And OMG, the footnotes were driving me nuts! I'm not crazy about footnotes in fiction. Actually, it's a pet peeve of mine. I can't stand them. A few are okay, but some of these were half a page long and continued onto the next page. That's a nope from me. They pull me out of the story, ruin the flow of my reading enjoyment.

So, this didn't help.

Now the good stuff: the story is quirky and highly imaginative, the characters are oddballs, and I enjoyed the clever way religious tales are incorporated into a 20th century setting. I also liked the way witches and witch hunters are added to the mix.

My favourite character was Crowley. Every time he was on the page, the story brightened. He was by far the most interesting guy in the book. And the way he got along with Aziraphale was realy cool, too.

There's a lot of cool stuff thrown into the book, but overall it didn't sweep me away. And that's the other thing, parts of this book were absolutely wonderful, while others were a bore and a total slog to get through.

Still looking forward to checking out the show. I reckon David Tennant will make a wicked Crowley.


Sunday, 12 May 2019

DUST DEVILS by Jonathan Janz

When traveling actors recruited his wife for a plum role, Cody Wilson had no idea they would murder her. Twelve-year-old Willet Black was just as devastated the night the fiends slaughtered everyone he loved. Now Cody and Willet are bent on revenge, but neither of them suspects what they’re really up against. 

 For the actors are vampires. Their thirst for human blood is insatiable. Even if word of their atrocities were to spread, it would take an army to oppose them. But it is 1885 in the wilds of New Mexico, and there is no help for Cody and Willet. The two must battle the vampires—alone—or die trying.


So, this is my fifth Jonathan Janz book this year. You'd think that I would be over reading his books, but you'd be wrong. I like how he tackles different horror subgenres, and this time we're stepping in vampire territory.

After finishing this one, I don't have any Flame Tree Press ARCs by Janz left in my pile. Actually, there's only one of his new releases I haven't read--his take on werewolves. I'll have to get myself a copy of WOLF LAND one of these days.

Anyway, let's talk about this Wild West vamp romp.

Cody Wilson is a simple guy who wanted to live a comfortable life on the ranch with his lovely wife. But Angela always wanted more. When a mysterious troupe of actors storms into town and offer her a role in their play, she accepts instantly.

And so begins the start of Cody's humiliation. His descent into madness. The demise of his simple life, as everything slowly crumbles because he becomes hellbent on bloody revenge...

Yikes! This story starts in the middle of the action, moves quickly and doesn't stop. I really liked the pacing. There's barely time to take a breath between the serious shit Cody gets himself into.

Ah, Cody Wilson. A man who likes to stay out of trouble and wants to be left alone to live his life. He's convinced he's a coward, even though he treks across the dirt after a group of seemingly invincible bloodsuckers. Even though he's not prepared to apologise for what he believes. Even though he goes out of his wat to help a kid he doesn't even know.

I reckon all of the above requires a strong character, because he refuses to stay down and keeps getting up. No matter what.

Actually, I think his biggest mistake was falling for a woman who wanted so much more than he could give, and resented him when all he wanted was a quiet, content life. Like his father said, his greatest weakness was pretty, shiny things. LOL.

Another character I thought was great was Marguerite. She's such a strong and sassy woman who after making the mistake of marrying an abusive ass, refuses to take shit from other men. She's smart and knows how to handle herself, and charms the reader as much as she did Cody.

Dust Devils is a relentless western full of dirty cretins. It's also a vampire story featuring a group of vile, despicable vamps masquerading as actors. I mean, let's get real, their show is pretty much crappy porn with the women they compel. This story is a gritty tale that captured the grossest parts of the Wild West so well, the atmosphere wrapped itself around me so tightly, it left me feeling a little dusty.

Also, I loved how the fast pace of this book kept me glued to the page and filled me with hatred towards the villains, yet led to a very satisfying conclusion.

If you like vampire stories with horrendous bite, you'll love this. If you're like me and are enjoying the many Jonathan Janz re-releases, you'll definitely love this. Hell, if you like adventure with a bit of filth and plenty of blood, do yourself a favour and read this. Now!

 
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