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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

STIRRING THE SHEETS by Chad Lutzke

Stirring the Sheets
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While sorting through my Paperwhite the other night, I stumbled upon this novella and decided to check it out. I mean, it sounded interesting, the cover is super creepy, and I've heard great things about this author.

Emmett works in a funeral home, so he's no stranger to death. However, when he loses his wife of almost 50 years, he finds himself drowning in grief, loneliness and an endless reel of memories.

The day the body of a random woman that reminds him of a younger version of his dead wife crosses his path, he does the unthinkable...

I wasn't sure what to expect from this novella. I thought it might turn out to be a twisted, bloody mess. Or turn into some sort of necro-loving nightmare. Instead, it was a melancholy story about a man who has helped others move on after death, trying to come to terms with his own loss. And failing at every step.

It's about how the human mind and spirit betrays him when he's trying to find his way out of the dark. And how the combination of doing something totally insane--and let's be honest, immoral--and finally opening up to the real show of friendship being offered to him, might be the perfect formula to, maybe not cure him, but lead him in the right direction towards living again.

This is such a well-written story that dragged me in deep, until I felt every single emotion Emmett did. His pain bounces off the pages, and his daily routine of nothingness only adds to the sombre experience. Yet, this wasn't a depressing or bleak read, it was cathartic.

It was also a quiet horror tale that I'm glad I finally read. Oh, and I will definitely have to read more of Lutzke's books.


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.


 
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