A must read for anyone interested in how the brain works. Full of great stories and insight into how we can improve ourselves and how seemingly bad si...moreA must read for anyone interested in how the brain works. Full of great stories and insight into how we can improve ourselves and how seemingly bad situations can be beaten. (less)
I won this book through the First Reads program here on Goodreads.
First of all it's always lovely to get a signed book. Something special about knowin...moreI won this book through the First Reads program here on Goodreads.
First of all it's always lovely to get a signed book. Something special about knowing that the author held the book in their hands at some stage.
With it being a children's book I was a bit skeptical at first on whether I would enjoy it, but I had no need to worry, it was fast paced and stuff for people of all ages to enjoy.
The children Sian, Owen and David were likable and almost instantly relate able, it reminded me of road trips I used to go on when younger. Bringing back good memories. Martin does a wonderful job of getting into the minds of the children. Their desires, motivation and feelings.
As with any book things soon go bad for the characters. Ghosts, men in robes and seaweed crawling out of the woodwork. Challenges the kids meet head on.
There were a few bits of the story that jumped ahead quite suddenly, but once I had gone back a bit and read it again I understood what was going on. Sometimes it was just myself reading too fast to find out what happened next.
Overall a great book that has every right to be a classic. I especially recommend it to people interested in Welsh mythology. (less)
I won this novel through the First Reads program on Goodreads. Adding another lovely signed copy to my growing collection.
No book more than any other...moreI won this novel through the First Reads program on Goodreads. Adding another lovely signed copy to my growing collection.
No book more than any other has made me more grateful to have been born in modern times. Just little over 100 years ago things were a lot different. Even the slightest infection could kill a man. But human history is a learning curve and we have to go through all the stages. Through trial and error we have reached our current state of modern science. Not that today's medical practices are perfect. Far from it, there's still a lot to learn.
To the story itself the characters are memorable, each personal account seeming to be more tragic than the last. Everyone of them doing their best to survive a ghastly war. Everyone from a loyal monkey to a drug addicted surgeon this novel has it all. Told from both sides of the war you really get the feel that all of them would rather not be there.
Every detail of the book felt historically correct, not once did I feel the wording or setting didn't belong in the book. I put it down to a lot of research and the author's own personal experience.
Human nature can be a very scary thing and this novel has captured it more than any other I have read. Pushing characters to their limits and beyond. Showing that people will sometimes will do just about everything to survive.
The surgery and its fine detail is where the author's talent shines through the most. Sometimes stomach churningly so, more horrifying that any scary monster you can find. Not that it should put you off, it keeps you going, making you wonder what the characters will have to endure next.
The letters home from the soldiers and replies from family were some of the most heartbreaking parts of the book. Comprising of everyday happenings and their longing for each other and for their loved ones to survive, but not only that, come out whole.
Overall a satisfying tale that every over zealous promoter of war should read. (less)
Being a Jack Vance fan, it was good to return to his work after some time away. As with most of his work I've read there's always a chance the story w...moreBeing a Jack Vance fan, it was good to return to his work after some time away. As with most of his work I've read there's always a chance the story will go off at a tangent and that's what I like about his work, there's always the chance of something unexpected. Not that it doesn't make sense when it happens it lends that air of mystery that keeps you hooked to the end.
At 153 pages this book is short, but packed with so much it feels like something more epic. Vance could have milked this into a trilogy, but he didn't and I really appreciate that. Not that the book doesn't have flaws. Quite a few times the book jumps from place to place abruptly where a few more moments of explanation would have been good.
I was also sad to hear of his passing over the weekend. A great loss to the community. A true grand master indeed. (less)
A mind twister. It delves deep into the character's thoughts. Touching on quite a few very dark and disturbing aspects of the human condition. Recomme...moreA mind twister. It delves deep into the character's thoughts. Touching on quite a few very dark and disturbing aspects of the human condition. Recommended to anyone interested in the human mind, crime, and Cape Town. (less)
As soon as I heard about Myke Cole's book through the Functional Nerds podcast I knew I had to read it. Sounded like something so fresh. Sure there ar...moreAs soon as I heard about Myke Cole's book through the Functional Nerds podcast I knew I had to read it. Sounded like something so fresh. Sure there are a lot of familiar elements, but this was a new combination I hadn't heard of or read before and I wasn't disappointed. The book starts off with an intense action scene that sucks you in. Gives you a good feel of Oscar Britton and his world. Being a G-Man himself you can feel Myke is drawing on a lot of his own experiences. It's hard to tell which ones, but it really adds to the authenticity of the feel of the book.
I won the book through Twitter mentioning Myke in the tweet that I had won, and he said that he would send me a signed copy too!
Back to the book. After the initial action scene Oscar discovers that he has just manifested some magic abilities of his own. Prohibited magic like he had just helped to control. Not wanting to meet the same fate he runs for it. Runs away from everything he knows and cares about.
I can't reveal much more about the plot without spoiling it, but I will touch on some other elements of the book. I thought the magic system was well handled. Most of it seeming to have a base in real world mythology. And it's suitably hard for the characters to learn. They can't just suddenly do what they want with it. They have to control it, channel it. Not let it consume them.
I also enjoyed the characters. They were diverse and I don't think too far from how real people would act in such situations. Not an easy thing to pull off. Although I do say I have never met such a conflicted character before. His stance on his situation and new found ability changing constantly, but I don't think it is a bad thing. Not at all. Because myself my thoughts on something might change by the second. Adapting as new information comes in. Letting my experiences and feelings guide me.
Overall I think this is a very strong debut, and I think the second book will be even better because Myke will be applying what he learned from the first book's writing process.(less)
Larry has the rare ability to make his characters and situations feel lifelike, for instance even though the murder victim is an alien the characters...moreLarry has the rare ability to make his characters and situations feel lifelike, for instance even though the murder victim is an alien the characters aren't running around screaming thinking they had lost their minds, they approached the situation rationally and logically. Granted some people wouldn't be able to handle it, but being a cop and an EMT they've seen their fair share of odd things.
Overall I thought the story was nicely paced, the characters were interesting and the X-Files references made me smile.(less)
With a mysterious space monster and a space hero called into take it down you can really feel the sense of exc...moreA Stranger in Ferrview by Frank R Sjodin
With a mysterious space monster and a space hero called into take it down you can really feel the sense of excitement and wonder in this story(told from a young boy's perspective), even thought it was recently written I think it would fit perfectly into a Golden Age Sci-Fi collection.
The Man in the Barn by D.L. Chance
Story has a Men in Black feel to it, but in a good way. It's sort of one of those stories where an alien race warns us that we are on the wrong path, but it has enough of a twist to make it interesting and enjoyable.
Darmok and the Mermaids of the Sea by Ethan Nahte
A hero with strange abilities that can take on pretty much anyone plus the allure of scantly clad women.. There were no surprises in this story, but finely written and a must for sword and sorcery readers.
Darwin's Demons by S C Hayden
Being a fan of the Fortean Times magazine I quite enjoyed this one. A fictional take on a typical article. Sort of like the day in the life of a Cryptozoologist. A must read for mermaid fans.
A Reason for Living by David M DeMar
I loved the banter between the two characters in this, a clash of two different generations and I can definitely relate, it's quite shocking what people call 'music' these days Haha I just made myself sound so old. Even though the probable outcome of the story is revealed early on it was still very enjoyable.
Good Fences Make Good by Chris O'Grady
I enjoyed the story, and even though it had a pulpy feel in some areas it felt out of place in the anthology. The action scenes were great and it shows you no matter how tough you think you are there's always someone out there who could most probably kick your ass without breaking a sweat.
Wonderboy by Charles Martin and Will Weinke
Anne Fredrick is the secret bastard daughter of a superhero, so you can imagine she has some issues. I think Charles and Will did a great job of imagining what it must be like to grow up with a father the whole world loves. A hero with a secret. A secret that takes up the latter half of the story. I appreciate the story is part of a series and I got what the secret it was, I think it could have been executed a bit better, it lacked that punch I was expecting. Not exactly a bad thing, it's all the more reason to find the rest of the series and find out more.
James and the Gentry by Kevin Lauderdale
Quite enjoyed this story. Had a light-hearted feel to it, Reggie, a gentleman and his valet James are thrown into a spot of bother when James rescues a faerie from a bull, a princess no less and as per custom she is no indebted to him and they must get married, and as breathtaking as she is he just doesn't feel it and doesn't want to live in the faerie world, and not only that a past flame of his is betrothed to his best friend Flippy, with limited time they have to figure out how to escape the marriages. I enjoyed the James character the most and hope to stumble across more of his stories in the future.
Radon's Daughter by Julie Jansen
This story had an ethereal/noir feel to it. Detective Weatherford is investigating a case involving a cashed cheque, but everyone in the bar says she should leave saying she's in for more than she bargained for. It's not long before she discovers the cause of her problems, a possessed pinball machine that compels people to play it until they disappear. A mystery she will need all the the help she can get to solve.
The Ball C Griffiths Knowles
I liked the characters in the story and the writing itself, but the plot of the story was a little dull to be honest, it felt like an interlude between grander/more action type scenes in a novel. A sky captain sends his wife into flirt with a prince and get information about a possible invasion, but he soon regrets it when he sees how friendly things get. He falls apart, but luckily his friends and his wife keep things on track until there's unexpected development. I think Mr Knowles should develop this into a novel, I think it would work quite nicely. Especially with how popular steampunk is at the moment.
A Reversal of his Fortunes by J Boyer (I couldn't find any site linked to J Boyer)
The MC is a hitman and he has a dinner appointment with his client. What follows is a polite stand off between the two characters, while compelling it could have been more intense. Without giving more of the story away that's about all I can say.
The Lone Rider by David P Fisher
Having not read many Western stories I'm not sure how this stacks up, but it was an enjoyable tale. Could have done with a bit more tension maybe, other than that the story was well structured and you get the sense that Brant Steele the Lone Rider in question wasn't someone you would want to mess with.
Stirrings in Hell by Davin Kimble
A lot of thought was put into this story, it felt like a story that could have easily been expanded into a novel, the characters were complex and the intricacies if their relationships worked well. Normally stories about hell bore me, or just have too much blood and guts, but this one had a human factor to it. It made something as vague as hell an interesting place.
Weep Not, Fair Freya by Robert Penson (another that seems to have no info online)
A ship has malfunctioned and travelled past the very end of the universe. It's just black all around them, but they are not alone. They all see the apparition, but none of them will admit it. It's interesting how the story unfolds and how they all crack one by one. I think a great choice for the last story in the book.(less)
Objects in Dreams may be Closer than they Appear by Lisa Tuttle:
A case of sometimes it's best not to let your curiosity get the better of you, it coul...moreObjects in Dreams may be Closer than they Appear by Lisa Tuttle:
A case of sometimes it's best not to let your curiosity get the better of you, it could have been a bit tighter, but an interesting tale none the less.
Pied-A-Terre by Stephen Volk
I think Stephen did a great job of writing from a female perspective, and it might make you even more weary when next you go house hunting.
In the Absence of Murdock by Terry Lamsley
Terry has a very old fashioned feel to his writing and checking out his books on Goodreads he's quite the master of the short story. I think lovers of pulp fiction will enjoy this one.
Florrie by Adam L. G. Nevill
As much I liked the other ones so far, I liked this one the most, the transition the story makes from beginning to end is quite remarkable. It will certainly make you think about who lived in a house previously to you.
Driving the Milkway by Weston Ochse
This was more a haunted RV than a haunted house, but a great tale none the less. Weston really plays on the nostalgia factor of what it was like to grow up, how wild our imaginations were (and sometimes still are). It shows us what lengths people will go to keep a friendship alive, a story I won't forget anytime soon.
The Windmill by Rebecca Levene
This is an honest look inside the head of a prisoner, how they feel they did nothing wrong and it's society that is persecuting them. An error he soon pays for, maybe a little too harshly, but that's for you to decide.
Moretta by Garry Kilworth
When and if I reach retirement I hope I have some excitement in my life like the main character does in this story, but maybe not as life threatening. Although the story wasn't particularly frightening it still had a nice charm to it.
Hortus Conclusus by Chaz Brenchley
It's about a group of friends who go help the mother of a deceased friend clean up a disused garden, and it doesn't take long before strange things start to happen. Things that prove that maybe their friend's spirit hasn't yet departed. While I enjoyed the story, I think it could have been a bit more scarier, but I don't think it was the aim of the story, because it left me feeling uneasy, like you should be doubly sure you treat people with respect while they're alive otherwise it might come back to haunt you.
The Dark Space in the House in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World by Robert Shearman
Being a Dr Who writer (mentioned in the foreword before the story) I knew this story was going to be a little different and I wasn't disappointed. Cindy and Steve are forbidden from going to the centre of the forest, but predictably they don't listen. Being passive aggressive God is disappointed, but he does little to punish them, only warning them not to go into the attic. And so the story goes on with its many twists and turns. It's the sort of story Alice would be proud of. The overall tone was compelling and it felt like a breeze to read.
The Muse of Copenhagen by Nina Allan
Nina has a done a great job of writing from the male perspective, normally you can tell quite easily that a writer is a bit out of their depth. Johnny gets a strange call from his uncle stating that he doesn't have long to live and when he inherits his childhood home he should get rid of it as soon as possible. Johnny goes over, but he soon gets caught up on childhood memories and doesn't want to get rid of any of it. Then his trip into the village changes everything and quickly decides to sell, but it's too late, he is not alone.
An Injustice by Christopher Fowler
A group of friends decide to go ghost hunting. Max, Ali and Shape. Max is the serious one and is in love with Ali and she doesn't know it, because she's too busy trying to get into Shape's pants and Shape doesn't care because he's only in it for the moment and will do anything to piss off his upright parents. Finding a possible ghost in the wrong side of town they stalk and soon discover that it's not all as it seems. A great story that ties in modern events quite nicely.
The Room Upstairs - Sarah Pinborough
The story had a laid back feel to it. A man casing out the town waiting for his accomplice to arrive, but soon gets distracted when something upstairs in the B and B he's staying in makes an awful racquet every night. He confront the other guest and landlady, but they know nothing. It soon reaches a stage where he can't take it any more and goes and finds out for himself. He finds something that makes him realize he should maybe change his ways.
Villanova by Paul Meloy
This story opened like many horror movies do all bright and happy but with something sinister lurking underneath. Ken takes his two girls on holiday. Steven a member of staff at the resort is charming, but in a clumsy way. There's something odd about him, but Ken isn't sure exactly what. As with any good horror story it steadily gets darker and has a decent pay off at the end.
Widow's Weeds by Christopher Priest
Christopher Priest is one of those writers I've heard a lot about, but haven't had a chance to read much of. I liked his casual and engaging style, and wouldn't mind reading more of his stuff in the future. Dennis is a lonely magician and finds what seems to be a perfect match through an internet dating site. She turns out to be all that he wanted and more, but as you've most probably guessed there's more to her than meets the eye. The story was maybe a bit too predictable, but somehow that was part of the charm.
The Doll's House by Jonathan Green
Having just finished reading the story it is the freshest in the my mind. The story builds up the tension quite nicely, maybe a little too dragged out, but a bit a shorter and it might have not worked as well. You could really feel the frustration of the main character as she goes through the day to day life of being a stay at home mum. It even made me feel anxious about my own washing and ironing.
Inside/Out by Nicholas Royle
This story had a dream like feel to it, you can almost see the shroud of fog in your mind's eye as you follow the main character as he stalks someone. It's one of those stories where a lot happens, but nothing too solid you can recall later. Although I do remember the gist of it, and it all comes together in a nice ending where everything suddenly makes sense. As you can imagine too late for the MC to do anything about it.
The House by Eric Brown
As stories go this a prime example of how you shouldn't let the past chain you down. Things happen and it may be hard at first, but you have to put it behind you. Focus on the future and the good things in life. The main character realizes it late in life, but better late than never. It's the sort of story you would expect to be made into a late Sunday evening drama you can enjoy with the family. In addition it's unique compared to the other stories, when you realize it's not the house itself that is haunted.
Trick of the Light by Tim Lebbon
This story pretty much continues the theme of the previous one. Live life while you have the chance. Penny a widow (husband missing for 7 years while on holiday and presumed dead) never was the adventurous type and didn't share her late husband's need to see the world and discover new things. She just wanted to stay at home in her own little world where nothing changed. After years of no news she decides to sell up house and buy an old mansion. I'm assuming Peter was quite well off because the place sounds massive. As you would suspect all is not right with the house and strange things start happening. Things that remind her of her husband.
What Happened to Me by Joe R Lansdale
I think this story was a fitting choice to end off the collection. It was suitably creepy and it's one that really fires the imagination. When the main character and his buddies pool their resources together to rent an old house they thought they had found the bargain of their lifetimes. The first flatmate pretty much leaves the first day there and the next soon after leaving the MC to tackle things on his own. Things get worse and worse to the point where he finds a previous tenant of the house, an old woman who used to live their when she was a girl, to help him get to the bottom of it. A woman the house seems to still have a strong bond with. Overall the story flowed nicely and even though the story was fantastic in nature it was told in a way that made it very much possible. A story I think I would make a great movie if was made by someone like Peter Jackson. (less)
I'm one of those horror fans who has watched quite a number of horror movies but hasn't read that many horror novels, so Shadows was some what of a tr...moreI'm one of those horror fans who has watched quite a number of horror movies but hasn't read that many horror novels, so Shadows was some what of a treat for me. And I wasn't disappointed. It was a thrill ride; a dark twisted thrill ride that seemed to have no brakes. It exposes the darkest of human nature, but it does it in such a way that makes it believable that people would actually think these things. And I'm sure many people have and worse.
Sarah is having a rough time, her father just committed suicide, her mother has fallen to pieces, her sister seems to be handling it a little too well and her boyfriend Kevin seems to be distracted and even more distant than usual. Then it gets even worse when her tormentor materializes. A shadowy figure with yellow teeth and scary eyes that is willing to do anything to push her over the edge. Of course she is the only one able to see him, which is a good thing! You would never want to cross paths with him.
Once I was into to the book it took me a couple of days to finish it. Which is quite good for me. Normally takes me a couple of weeks to read a book.
Just one thing if you get the book. Don't read the back, get into reading it straightaway. It's a habit of mine. Less spoilers that way. It adds to the mystery and makes it more entertaining if you ask me.
Overall I highly recommend this to horror fans, but if you're a bit of a softie it would maybe best for to read it during the day. Some of the scenes might be a bit hard for you to stomach. Not that it should stop you from reading it. That's what a good horror novel is supposed to do right? Make you feel uncomfortable. Sleep with the lights on so to speak.
You know what scares me the most? I've met Joan. She's a sweet and caring person and it's hard to see where the all the darkness in the characters comes from. It just goes to show you that there is always more to a person than meets the eye! And if you ask me the world would be a duller place if it wasn't true. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for her next novel.(less)
Lele is your typical teenager, she hates school and she has a crush on the cool guy, but there's one very large twist to her story. Everything isn't n...moreLele is your typical teenager, she hates school and she has a crush on the cool guy, but there's one very large twist to her story. Everything isn't normal. When people die they don't stay dead. Yes, you've got it. She's living in the time of Zombies. Zombies that have destroyed the world and pushed humans down a notch in the food chain.
And if that wasn't bad enough a group of people known as the Resurrectionists have taken control of the enclave. The only safe spot in Cape Town. A safe spot created by the Guardians. A mysterious group who saved the vastly dwindled population from the Rotters as they are known. A group that seem to have control over the Resurrectionists.
Coming from the agriculturals Lele is new to all this and takes some time to adapt. Getting into trouble for not believing what she was hearing and saying things she shouldn't. In addition she's stuck with a step mother she doesn't like. A veteran from the zombie struggle who seems to have it in for her brother and herself.
Understandably Lele is not fond of the enclave and wants nothing more than to go back to the Agriculturals. A place her and her brother had to leave when her Gran died. Meeting an underground group known as the Mall Rats she soon discovers that everything isn't as it seems. Will she be able to return home? Read it and find out. You wont be disappointed.
Although I'm not much of a YA reader I found this book very enjoyable. The characters sounded real and it's not your normal zombie book/movie. Here the people have learned how to adapt to living with them. Some even thriving. It's a human story that is well handled and I can't wait for the sequel. (less)