Review: The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

20454635This was a fun book to read. I love the way that Seth Grahame-Smith writes and have enjoyed several of his books.

Although it’s described as the sequel to Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, it actually serves as a prequel as well. We get a good look at Henry Sturges in his pre-vampire era and find out how he came to be. There’s an excellent description of what happened after the conclusion of the previous story that was very satisfying to me as a reader. And, we find out that many of the major events, tragic ones especially, in our world’s history had the influence of vampires woven all within their thread.

A minor note on a personal level-this one was a bit harder for me to fall into and then to follow along with because it does bounce around a bit more than the earlier book. Still, the historical events are so accurately written about with Henry easily part of the story that it’s a book I would definitely recommend!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Last American Vampire

Review: The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice

IMG_2160.JPGHorror story with supernatural elements set in the swamps of Louisiana? And an amazingly beautiful cover? You bet! When I requested this book from NetGalley I had never heard of Christopher Rice but I was intrigued by the promise of a good spooky story.

After the Delongpre family mysteriously vanishes one night in the bayou, those left behind are forced to carry on without truly knowing what became of Noah, Millie, and Niquette. Young Niquette’s best friend Ben and boyfriend Anthem are the hardest-hit by this tragedy. A decade has passed and they both still struggle with her memory in their own ways. However, when strange events begin happening around those connected to the family, the real frightfest begins. What is causing animals and people alike to lose control of their minds? What really happened to the family along that dark stretch of swampy road years earlier? Is the family still alive?

This story was a true horror story. It was creepy and spooky but also had an engaging storyline with good character development. On a side note, I feel that any review of this book must mention the fact that the author is the son of horror story master, Anne Rice. That being said, I didn’t know that when I requested the book and it didn’t sway my opinion at all. A definite must-read if you like creepy paranormal stories!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Heavens Rise

Review: Conversion by Katherine Howe

dd0188081c1c4d616421d117d5f437bbThe history nerd in me loves anything to do with the Salem witch trials. The book lover in me loves historical fiction combined with a bit of fantasy. This latest book by Katherine Howe fits the bill on both ends.

It’s the story of Colleen and her friends, seniors at a prestigious girls’ prep school. They’re already under immense pressure from AP courses, GPAs, and the college admission process. And then comes another level of stress as several of the girls become afflicted with some strange syndrome. Hair loss, twitching, rambling incohesive speech…it’s all there and nobody can seem to figure out what’s causing it. Is it environmental? Stress? Mental/emotional? Or is something more sinister at work?

Part of the appeal of this book for me was how the author shifted back and forth between the present day story and the early 1700s during the actual Salem witch trial period. We’re given a glimpse into the hysteria of that era and encouraged to make a connection to the current story. This is a good story that kept me guessing as to what was really happening. An afterword by the author provides some insight into what inspired her to write this book. Grab this one for a great read, just in time for Halloween!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Conversion

Review: Amity by Michael Ostow

19141361Did you grow up scared sleepless after watching Amityville Horror? Did you watch it more than once just because you were fascinated yet slightly traumatized by it? Were you interested enough in the true story to do a little bit of research into what really happened in Amityville? If any of the above questions apply to you, this new book by Michael Ostow is definitely a must-read!

This creepy supernatural story plays off the events retold in Amityville Horror. Two horrific tragedies are at play here, separated by a span of ten years. Gwen and her family are the lucky inhabitants of the Amity house ten years after Connor and his family were in residence. And of course, things didn’t end happily ever after for the original inhabitants.

The chapters easily alternate between the two time periods with everything converging at the end. Demonic possession, ghosts, ancient burial grounds, and good old-fashioned human murder all have a starring role. Great for fans of scary good stories, and safe enough for young adult readers. As long as they don’t mind a few sleepless nights, that is!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Amity

Review: Mud Vein, by Tarryn Fisher

01

“It’s your darkness that pulls me in. Your mud vein. But sometimes having a mud vein will kill you.”

This is not a book I can put in just one category. It’s not a mere thriller, mystery or suspense, or even a romance. This story can’t be simplified into any of those. It is an experience that will leave you speechless.

I am having a hard time putting into words all these crazy feelings that are running through me. Very few books have left me with this feeling of sadness, over the ending. But sadness isn’t the correct word. I’m not sad. I may be crying, but I’m not really sad. I’m more numb, than anything. See?? I need someone to reach down and pull the correct words out of my head and through them down here. I’m all a wreck.

If I could just write a review saying “Go and read it.” I totally would. Tarryn Fisher has a very unique writing style and it sucks you right in. This review will NOT do it justice. I’ll tell you that right now. You might as well just click on the buy link, at the bottom, and get started on reading it.

Senna wakes up in a cabin, in the middle of nowhere, and the only way out is to take good hard look at her past. But looking at her past may very well destroy her future. She must try and put the pieces together, or her life might not be the only one in danger.

Her past has completely shaped her. She is a broken soul with no way to be fixed. Or maybe, she doesn’t have the will to be fixed. She broke my heart. I was drawn into her and could totally feel everything she felt. I was breathless at a few parts. How one person could experience so much, was beyond me. I could feel her brokenness through these pages.

Isaac, was her savior, but she never really noticed that. He was there when she was at her worst, and he helped her when no one else did. He saved her from herself. He kept her alive. He was also with her in the cabin.

“Maybe lifting someone else’s weight makes yours a little more bearable.”

Every time I saw a glimpse of Isaac, from her past, I fell more in love with him. He never left her, when he thought she needed him. And she most definitely needed him, way more than she thought. He cared for her and never backed down no matter how hard she pushed. And boy did she push.

“Why are you here?”
“Because you are.”

But this wasn’t a love story really. It was a story about people and their darkness, and how even those with darkness in them they can still be loved. But it really wasn’t about love!! I still can’t put my finger on it.

My heart was racing almost this entire book. Watching Isaac and Senna try and put the pieces together, had my heart racing. It was a matter of their life or death. This is definitely not my usual type of story. I’m a fluff reader. Happy happy joy joy, with occasional heartbreak mixed in. This book terrified me, made me nervous, and of course, still broke my heart. The love shone, throughout this story, was beautiful, if not devastating. To have love like that would make anyone deliriously happy, but to Senna, it was unfathomable, until the very end.

“What you wrap around your soul determines your outcome.”

Tie yourself to those you truly love you.

~Melpomene

Buy Mud Vein

Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter

the troopI can not bear to finish this book. I am physically ill from reading this. I don’t mind gore. Actually, I kinda like it. Brian Lumley is fast favourite of mine.

I thought this was going to be a really wonderful book. I really did. When I started it, it was wonderful. I love the concept of it. A small group of boys on a isolated island with only a scoutmaster there to guide them. All electronics left behind and no outside communication allowed for the duration. Then one night a mysterious stranger joins them on the island. I loved the back stories of the boys. The mesh of their personalities. They all made for a very interesting storyline. I loved the scoutmaster as well…a small town general practitioner.

However, I have to write this review to warn others. There is some really disturbing stuff within these pages. Again, I don’t mind the gore. I don’t even mind if characters I like are picked off one by one….well, I mind…but you know what I mean…..

However, senseless animal cruelty that leaves me shaking and very nauseous is enough to make me not want to finish this book. No, it makes me unable to finish this book. Yes, I admit, I want to know how it ends…but I am not willing to pay the price for this knowledge. I understand that perhaps Cutter (which is really Canadian writer Craig Davison) is trying to use this to build up character’s personality….but I just feel there are better and more worthy ways of doing so than a play by play scene that leaves NOTHING to the imagination.

I don’t mean to bash this author or his writing….as I stated, there is a lot I like in this novel….however, I can’t let something that sits so uneasily on me go undisclosed. I know a lot of people are excited to start reading this…and I don’t wish to deter them, only warn them….

Until next time….

Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Troop by Nick Cutter

Reviews: Necroscope (Necroscope, #1) & Necroscope II: Vamphyri! (Necroscope, #2) by Brian Lumley

Okay….so I’m gonna do something a little different…I read the first of this series last year at this time….I recently picked up the second in the series to read and loved it so much that I wanted to review it for everyone….but I wanted to go back and also include my review from book one…so today is your lucky day (or not)…two reviews for the price of one!!! Hope you enjoy….

BL1

Necroscope (book #1) read in November 2012:

How to rate this book. I loved parts of it, but also found myself waiting for the *real* action to begin. Knowing that there are over 30 books to follow this one, I guess I will have to be satisfied knowing this was only the beginning and as such, maybe, it was designed to set up the story line and ensure I lusted for more….
I read Dracula last month. I won’t bore you with explaining why I was utterly bored with it, actually finding myself yawning at parts. I only bring it up to say that when I read that book, I was looking for the type of feel this book gave me. A sense of evil that is timeless. Evil that has existed though out all the generations and still exists today. This book excited me in the way that I had hoped Dracula would. I could hear the ancient rasping voice of pure evil when the old Vampir spoke from his earthly tomb. I could actually feel the air grow chill. *This* is what I was seeking from the Count….Stoker did not deliver that feeling (for ME), but Lumley certainly did.

Here you have Boris Dragosani and his ability to tear apart the dead and learn their secrets…and then you throw in little Harry Keogh, who speaks for the dead, who the dead admire and, in fact, seek him out and what is there not to love! This same ability, two vastly different types of humans who can both speak to the dead, but displayed at two total different angles fascinated me.

It was also very interesting to have the KGB and other world intelligence agencies use all of these physic powers against one another. James Bond has entered an entirely new realm here. It’s all so very believable. So how much does physic ability play in attaining intelligence from other counties? We all have heard of mediums being used behind closed doors to help track down killers, but what if these mediums were used AS THE killers? How true is the “evil eye”? What if one talked to the dead, not to reassure the living, but to learn of the dead’s secrets…secrets that up until that point had been taken with them to the grave?

Parts of this book I felt were rich in detail and left me wanting even more…yet other parts I felt needed more detail and they, too, left me wanting more…..

I won’t be going into any ancient forests in Romania anytime soon….that is one thing I know for sure…..

BL2Necroscope II: Vamphyri! (book #2) read November 2013:

As I read this, I wondered why I had waited so long to continue on with this series. I really liked the first book. I remembered just how much as I read this one. The second book picks up right where book one ended. As I read this one, I was already wondering how I would rate it. Very different from the first book. Lots of the history of the past Wamphyris. There are parts of this book that felt very gothic. Other parts felt very spy vs. spy with all of the espionage…I really wasn’t sure how I would rate it….I loved the history and the espionage both….I loved the combining of world powers to fight for a common goal….I loved the feeling of being suspect of everyone…was he a good guy…or would he turn traitor….this whole concept of fighting world powers not with physical force, BUT with mental force is terrifying to me! Don’t we all have that 6th sense that kicks in from time to time….haven’t we all heard of the evil eye? Every feel like something bad is about to happen? Déjà vie? What if there ARE people out there that have powers such as these that we can’t even begin to imagine? What if world powers not only hide these people, but they also use them for the *better* of their cause? What happens if you put a mind reader in with one of the most powerful men in he world? What would he learn? What if someone can talk to anyone from the dead? Think of all the great minds of the past! Now…Think of all the evil minds of the past…go back in time…Genghis Khan…Hitler …now imagine being able to converse with them! Do you see where this can go? Think of the secrets that the dead take to their graves….now imagine that you can bring those secrets forth….how mind blowing is that!

So I was on the fence on how to rate this….4 stars for sure….but was it really worthy of 5? Lumley is a true writer of horror….I mean, there’s no way you can read the descriptions of his vampires and not be a little freaked out….he paints a very vivid mind’s image….you can almost hear the sounds of limbs being tore apart….he also, in a gothic sick twisted way throws in things meant to be erotic and sick and twisted and exciting all at once….you long to turn away, but can’t bear to miss a moment….

Then I hit the last 10% of this book…..all I can say is oh holy hell….I gasped out loud! I actually stood up and paced…I was hopping up and down on one leg to the other….I read it with my mouth hanging open…I had goosebumps running up and down my skin….and that wasn’t enough…I then started to shake…physically shake from the stuff going through my mind….he did this NOT ONCE BUT THREE TIMES IN THE LAST PART OF THE BOOK!! Three huge shocks to my system….never, ever, can I ever hope or dream to experience something like that from a book ever again…he flipping blew my mind!!! Lumley, is a fucking master….there is a reason this series has a cult following….brilliant….just brilliant…..ah.maze.ing…..

No, this isn’t a book for everyone….Lumley is not for everyone….but this series has now answered the question….if I could only read one series for the rest of my life….well, it’s gonna be this one….with dozens of books, I am excited to be breathless again…lost in horrific wonder….bring it….I am wanting to start book 3!!!!!

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy Them Now Necroscope, Necroscope II: Vamphyri!

Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

nosHow does one write a 700 plus page novel and make it non-stop stay on the edge of you seat the entire way? Damned if I know, but go ask Joe Hill, because he sure the f**k knows how!!!!!! Wow! What a ride! Remember the episode of “Friends” where Joey keeps the book in the freezer? I SERIOUSLY wanted to shove my poor kindle in the deepest parts of my freezer at night whilst I was reading this one!

This was my very first Joe Hill book but believe you me, it won’t be my last! Two confessions…one, I always wondered what it would be like growing up as Stephen King as my dad. I mean, what goes through the man’s mind as he sits down to pancakes on a Sunday morning. Does he see THAT pile of pancakes as others would view it? How does his sense of reality compare with others? What stories does he tell his kids? Well, Joe Hill was one of those children that actually sat at that table on Sunday mornings with SK as his pops…When SK had a random thought, JH was around to hear what it was…My second confession is, (okay, I KNOW this isn’t fair, Mr Hill) that I was hesitant to read this because Joe Hill IS King’s son….well, let me tell you….there are some things in the book that made me think of SK, but seriously, this is not some guy making a living based on having a famous father….if anything, Joe Hill deserves so much more fame then he currently has. I don’t scare easy. I don’t sit there and rapidly turn pages as fast as I can for 700 plus pages! I can’t EVER remember wanting to put a book in the freezer before! Joe Hill , much like his father, has that uncanny ability to take the everyday simple things that everyone has experienced as a kid and turn it into the stuff of nightmares…bikes, childhood games, and even Christmas!!!! What the hell!?!?!?!

Don’t read this book if you get emotionally attached to great characters and want them to live forever. Don’t read this book if you are afraid to “think outside the box”. Don’t read this book if you think every Christmas should be perfect. Don’t read this book if you live alone and don’t have a safe, sturdy freezer to store your current read in. Don’t read this book if you are afraid of jumping at a mysterious bump in the night. Don’t read this book if you think it’s okay to listen to Christmas music all year long….

Do read this book if you want to have the simple things we all did as a child revisited and made real. Oh come on…you need an example? Okay, remember how you used to ride your bike, only it wasn’t *really* a bike? It was some magical travel machine that could take you any imaginary place you wished to go! Sure that was only your imagination…

Or was it….

Hmmmmmmm….

Do read this book if you enjoy an author that cares enough about his readers to make you love all the characters in his novel…even those that aren’t gonna make it to the end….Do read this book if you want your heart pumping at fast speeds….Do read this book if you think Christmas should be kept year round in your heart (insert cheesy awwww)….Do read this book if you are looking for a new favourite author that you will forever adore!

Holy Hell, again, what a great f**king ride!!!!!!!!

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now NOS4A2

Review: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

6065182Sarah Waters is known primarily for her erotic Victorian era fiction, however, she takes a detour in her latest (well, latest being 2009) offering. Waters employs the classic first person narrative in the form of Dr Faraday – the ever so sensible and stiff upper lipped family doctor – and this lures the reader into a sense of trust and comfort whilst they get ready to “listen” to the story.

Set in 1947, two years after the war has ended, and a time in which the country was in the midst of economic recovery and social reform, The Little Strangers tells the tale of a grand house that was once the epicenter of social royalty in the early 1900’s.   Throughout the years, the house and indeed the owners, have crumbled into financial despair.  Without giving too much away, let’s just say things aren’t necessarily what they seem at Hundreds Hall.

As mentioned previously, Waters is known and celebrated for her Victorian era erotic fiction.  As shown in this novel, Waters has proved she is not just a one trick pony; the characters are what drive this novel, and Waters is exceptional at bringing them to life.  A great percentage of the novel is devoted to build up, and making the reader care for the characters.  It takes a bit of getting used to as readers are used to instant gratification in most of today’s novels.  Waters has stylized her writing and pace to match those of Henry James, Wilkie Collins and Emily Bronte.  Through this choice in style, it allows the reader to better imagine the world of 1947.  In fact, Waters is so accurate, that I believe this is the first book that I’ve read, since Enid Blyton, that doesn’t have any swearing, violence, or sex.   It is a good old fashioned ghost story, told in a way that will feel authentic, and yet ageless.

At over 500 pages in length, this is not a quick Halloween night read.  This novel is to be savoured and devoured.  The Little Stranger is an intelligent, scary, atmospheric, and slow (in a good way) read.  Well worth the read if you are looking for something different this Halloween!   Just try not to scream too loudly if you hear a floorboard creak!

Buy it here:

The Little Stranger

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

12813630 Tana wakes up the day after a party in a bathtub, afraid to find out how embarrassed she should be about the previous night. She makes her way out to the front room only to discover a bloodbath in the living room. Immediately Tana knew without a doubt what killed all of her friends. Vampires.

She finds Aidan, her ex, tied to a bed with a vampire in chains in the room as well. Before she knows what she’s doing, she finds herself rescuing them both. Aidan has been bitten and as Tana escapes she gets grazed by a tooth of one of the vampires in the house. This means they have the potential to go “cold” and have an 88 day time period where the symptoms can get worse. Tana has personal experience with this from an awful time at a very young age. They head to the closest Coldtown – towns that are cordoned off, vampires rule and regular people go there in search of eternal youth.

This book was outstanding. The very first chapter grabs on and does not let you go at all. It was bloody and creepy but not overwhelmingly so. The world building in this book was dreary and hopeless, yet also integrated the technological world that we know so well. Coldtown is filled with bloggers and attracts people who are coming there to connect with their “people”. This part of the world felt very real to me and was something that I could easily imagine to happen in this kind of situation.

On top of the technological and present world the author did a great job of building her own mythology of vampires into this world. Gavriel is an old vampire who is integral to the plot. These vampires are gritty, bloody, and creepy, just how I like my vampires.

I loved this world. I loved this book. I would highly recommend, it had been way too long since I had read a good vampire book!

5 stars

~Clio

Buy it Now The Coldest Girl in Coldtown