Review – The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char
by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char Goodreads Description:

Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.  (read more)

Genre: Dark Fantasy / Horror
My Rating: **** (4 stars)

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THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER Cover Reveal, Sneak Peek, and GIVEAWAY (Ended)

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

Author: Jeff Strand

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Jeff Strand gives readers a sneak peek at his latest novel The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, and shares his five favorite zombie movies:

Jeff Strand’s Five Favorite Zombie Movies:

My five favorite zombie movies are very similar to many other people’s five favorite zombie movies. I could’ve gone the condescending click-bait route and written about “The Five Best Zombie Movies You’ve Never Seen!” but, no, I’m going with my five real favorites….

 #5: DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004 version). I was one of the many people bellowing, “You can’t remake DAWN OF THE DEAD! This is blasphemy! Blasphemy!!!” But somehow this remake to a sequel (but not a sequel to the remake) turned out to be awesome. Not quite as good as the original (SPOILER ALERT: That’s #3 on this list) but one of my all-time favorites. 

 #4: RE-ANIMATOR. I’ve now seen plenty of movies that are more over-the-top insane than RE-ANIMATOR, but this was the first movie where I simply couldn’t believe what I was watching. It was hard to believe that a movie so dark and gruesome could be so funny. 

 #3: DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978 version). Shameful confession: When I first saw this in high school I thought it was stupid and boring. Fortunately, I matured and accepted that it’s one of the high points of zombie cinema. It’s the reason I know to duck before walking toward spinning helicopter blades.

 #2: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Fast zombies long before 28 DAYS LATER! The first time zombies ate brains! It doesn’t often get the credit it deserves, but this is one of the most influential zombie movies ever.

#1: SHAUN OF THE DEAD. The greatest zombie comedy ever. The greatest zombie movie ever. The greatest MOVIE ever.

About THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER:

After producing three horror movies that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time they create something noteworthy, something epic. They’re going to film the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz—Justin’s crush—as the lead.

 With only one month to complete their movie, a script that can’t possibly get worse, and the hopes and dreams of Alicia on the line, Justin is feeling the pressure. Add to that a cast of uncooperative extras and incompetent production assistants, and Justin must face the sad, sad truth. He may actually be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever…

About Jeff Strand:

Jeff Strand has written more than twenty books, and is a four-time nominee (and four-time non-winner) of the Bram Stoker Award. Two of his young adult novels, A Bad Day For Voodoo and I Have A Bad Feeling About This, were Junior Library Guild picks. Publishers Weekly called his work “wickedly funny.” He lives in Tampa, Florida.

Website | @JeffStrand

 Excerpt from The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever:

The vampire, whose fangs were too big for his mouth, turned to the camera and hissed.

“Don’t look at the camera,” said Justin Hollow, the director.

“I keep poking my lip on these things,” said Harold, spitting the plastic fangs out onto the ground. He hadn’t been a very frightening example of the undead before, and he was even less scary with no fangs and a thick line of drool running down his chin.

“Cut!” shouted Justin, loud enough to be sure that the command was heard by his production crew of two. “C’mon, Harold. Stay in character. We’re three hours behind schedule.”

“I don’t care. I hate this. You promised that I’d get all the girls I wanted. So where are all of the girls I want?”

Justin let out his thirty-ninth exasperated sigh of the night. “The movie has to come out first.”

“It’s not even a real movie.”

Justin bristled. It was a full body bristle, head to toe, which he hadn’t even realized was physically possible. Bobby, who handled sound recording, and Gabe, who handled everything else, both stepped back a couple of feet. Neither of them truly believed that they were about to witness a murder, but they wanted to get out of the splash zone, just in case.

Had this been one of Justin’s movies, he would have very slowly lowered his camera, stared directly into Harold’s eyes with a steel gaze, and then after an extremely dramatic pause asked “What…did…you…just…say?”

His actual response, delivered in a squeakier voice than he would have allowed from his actors, was: “Huh?”

“I said it’s not a real movie.” Harold started to wipe the fake blood off his mouth. It didn’t come off, and probably wouldn’t for several days. Justin had planned to feel guilty about this later, but now he wouldn’t bother. “Nobody’s ever going to see it. You probably won’t even finish it.”

“I finished my last three movies!” Justin insisted. “I got hundreds of hits on YouTube!”

That statement was technically accurate, though it was the lowest possible number of hits you could get and still use “hundred” in its plural form. The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been “This twelve year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise,” which really frustrated Justin since he was fifteen.

Harold shrugged. “This is a waste of time. I’ve got better things to do on a Friday night.”

“Nobody ever said this was going to be easy,” said Justin, who had indeed said that it was going to be easy when luring Harold into the role. “You can quit now, but what are you going to think about your decision ten years from now?”

“I’m going to think, wow, it sure is nice to be such a well-paid dentist.”

Harold walked off the set. It wasn’t an actual set, but rather a small park near Justin’s home, where they were filming without a permit. Justin knew he should shout something after his ex-actor. Something vicious. Something devastating. He thought about shouting “You’ll never work in this town again!” but, no, it had to be something that Harold would consider a bad thing.

“Fine!” Justin shouted. “But when we record the audio commentary track for the Blu-Ray, I’m going to talk about how you abandoned us, and how much happier everybody was with the new actor who took your role, and how we all agreed that he should have been cast in the first place, and how he had so many girlfriends that he couldn’t even keep track of them, and how they all found out about each other and had a great big awesome catfight in his front yard! And I’ll pronounce your name wrong!”

Harold continued walking, apparently not heartbroken.

 

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Forsaken by J.D. Barker

Forsaken
by J. D. Barker

Forsaken (Shadow Cove Saga, #1)

Genre: Horror
My Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)

***NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Book 1 of The Shadow Cove Saga

Forsaken is a book partially based on characters and events from the Salem witch trials. Some of these events find their way into the latest novel by best-selling novelist Thad McAlister.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
From the witch trials of centuries past, an evil awakens.

Inspired by Actual Events
Excerpt from the Journal of Clayton Stone – 1692
She was examined today without torture at Shadow Cove township on the charge of witchcraft. She said she was wholly innocent of the crime and has never in life renounced God. I watched as they brought her out. A poor, sickly thing, worn by her time behind the walls of her prison. Her bared feet and hands bound in leather, her clothing tattered to that of ruin. Despite such condition, her head was held high, her eyes meeting those of her accusers. She still refuses to provide her name so we remain unable to search baptismal records, nor has her family stepped forward to claim her as their own. We have no reason to believe she is anything but an orphaned child. I find myself unable to look at her directly in the moments preceding her trial. She is watching me though; with eyes of the deepest blue, she is watching me.

Thad McAlister, Rise of the Witch

When horror author Thad McAlister began his latest novel, a tale rooted in the witch trials of centuries past, the words flowed effortlessly. The story poured forth, filling page after page with the most frightening character ever to crawl from his imagination. It was his greatest work, one that would guarantee him a position among the legends of the craft. (read more

Throughout the story, the author allows you glimpses into the past via excerpts from Clayton Stone’s journal, showing you important events that happened in 1692. These journal entries give you just enough information to keep you guessing and add to the suspense when you are reading about the present. There were some good twists and a nice salute to Stephen King (one of my favorites) that made this even more fun to read. This was a great stay-up-all-night-reading type of spooky story, and I recommend this book to any fans of horror novels, witches, or things that go bump in the night. I will also be on the lookout for book #2 of the Shadow Cove Saga, to find out what happens to Ashley and Rachael!

Visit J.D. Barker’s webpage

Purchase Forsaken at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Review – The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

The Dead Lands
by Benjamin Percy
The Dead Lands

***NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Genre: Horror / SciFi / Fantasy
My Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)

The Dead Lands is at its core a story of survival in the face of apparently insurmountable obstacles – survival not just of a few individuals, but of humanity itself.

Synopsis From Goodreads:
In Benjamin Percy’s new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.  (read more)

The story starts out in Sanctuary, and then hops back and forth between there and the group of escapees who have set off in the hopes of discovering something better. Each member of the scouting party has his or her own personal reason for fleeing Sanctuary. For some, the struggle with their decision to leave causes them almost as much grief as the monsters, inhospitable climates, and other people they meet along the way.

This book had both the horror-road-trip feel of The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and the find-other-survivors-and-keep-the-human-race-going vibe of The Passage, by Justin Cronin. (Both of which I highly recommend if you have not already read them!) It was a suspenseful, thought-provoking tale and I really enjoyed it.

I do think that the way the story wrapped up, there might be a possibility of a little more Lewis and Clark (not to mention Gawea) in the future. I’m not sure that’s what the author was getting at, but I can hope….

Visit Benjamin’s Percy’s website
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What Are You Reading Wednesday 5/6/15

What are you reading Wednesday – 5/6/15

whatareyoureadingwed

What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Its A Reading Thing. Just answer three little questions about what you are reading this Wednesday, then head on over to their blog to add a link to your own post, or leave your answers in the comments below.

The Questions are:
1. What’s the name of your current read?

2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share one complete sentence.

3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

My Answers this week:

1. I’m currently reading The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy
The Dead Lands

2. If Lewis was the type to share, the type who offloaded all his aches and worries and displeasures onto others, then he might complain about the dreams that bother him nightly.

3. I would most definitely not like to like in this fictional future. The world has been devastated by an outbreak of a deadly flu virus, and the survivors are few and far between, scattered into small communities across the USA. Technology is nearly non-existent, and the climate is extreme. Life here is hard, uncomfortable, and dangerous.

Can’t wait to hear what everyone else is reading today!