Siege By Rhiannon Frater

When I first started looking into zombie fiction it was mainly audio and I listened to one by, I believe, a Spanish writer. It was okay, but didn’t really blow me away. The fact I can’t remember who it was and the name of the book speaks volumes. Then I come across two others, first was Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo, and then there was The First Days by Rhiannon Frater.

Siege is the third, and I believe final, book in Frater’s As The World Dies series, and is a good ending to it.

I liked how Frater wasn’t afraid to change it up in some quite big ways throughout the story. There was one huge moment were I actually rewound the audio to make sure what had happened, did in fact happen.

I will admit I’d held off listening to this as how the second book ended opened up a storyline that i wasn’t to sure I’d like, and I regret that decision. The storyline in question opened up the universe a little, and was dealt with really well and wasn’t taken where I thought it was going to go.

The endgame of this story felt very real. I could imagine it was what real people would at least attempt.

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The Log House by Baylea Hart

The Log House by Baylea Hart tells the story of a young woman who is left for dead in a forest which is full of creatures that want to kill her. She needs to get back to the only home she has ever known, where her son is before she starves to death, or the forest and the monsters that lurk in it get her.

This was one of those books that hooked me pretty quickly and it was very rare where I’d read one chapter at a time. The world that Baylea Hart has here was one which really fuelled my imagination. Hart is very vague about some of the larger details of this world, focusing only on Penny’s (the protagonist) efforts to get back to her home, and I think it works well. Sometimes this vagueness can hinder a book, leaving too much left unanswered but Penny’s story here was enough to keep me turning the pages.

I liked what Hart did with the characters. Although we get the whole story from Penny’s point of view other characters are well laid out. Whether it was Penny, or her nemesis Mary, or even the forest itself I thought they provoked a strong reaction out of me that whether I liked them or not kept me engaged in the story and revealing the past that there is between Penny and Mary. That is the main mystery in the story, why there is such animosity between Penny and Mary, and I really liked how Hart drip fed that backstory throughout the novel. It comes at just the right times and doesn’t slow the story down at all. If anything they made me want to read more of the story.

One element that I was impressed with was how Hart’s description affected me at times. When it comes to horror I’m still a super newbie. I’m still learning what make me flinch, what makes my stomach turn, and what pushes me out of my comfort zone. With The Log House I found I felt like someone was standing behind me running their fingernails down a chalkboard. It was that sensation of ones skin crawling that got me with this book. Even now just writing it I want to scratch my skin. Hart does this so beautifully and in a way I haven’t yet encountered it really rammed home what Penny was going through. Hart creates such a tense atmosphere through the book which makes it uncomfortable in the way I think horror should be.

The Log House is definitely a book I’d recommend.

The Malignant Dead by CL Raven

The Malignant Dead by CL Raven is the story of Alex McRae, an Edinburgh plague doctor, and his desire and effort to cure the disease that took so many.

Like the rest of their work The Malignant Dead is a very tightly constructed story. There’s not a lot of fat in it to get choked on. This allows the story to move at a brisk pace that meant I’d find myself surprised at how many pages I’d read in a sitting. Especially as its historic fiction, which isn’t normally my cup of tea. There’s enough detail and references, like words that would have been used back then, that it pulls you into Edinburgh during that time period. It was easy to feel how dirty and dangerous the city was back then.

Something Cat and Lynx do particularly well are characters. The protagonists in this story are people I want to hang out with, and I fell in love a little with the lead female character, Katerin. They felt very real, with real motivations and concerns. Alex McRae’s love for those he holds dear is felt throughout the novel. You feel what he’s going through, whether its his frustrations with those who have the plague or his joy at being with Katerin or his friend James. There are a couple of moments which had me choking up as well. Events in the life of Alex McRae that strike him hard. It is counterbalanced by some good humour as well.

I definitely recommend The Malignant Dead.

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This book involves characters from their 2017 novel, The Devils Servants. Although The Devils Servants isn’t a direct sequel I’d recommend reading The Malignant Dead and then The Devils Servants.

Fragile by Justin R. Macumber

Fragile is the next book following the life of Maya Gallows, a paranormal investigator and blogger, as she tries to deal with the fallout of what happened in Stillwater (book one, Still Water). But even though she’s struggling with what happened she moves onto the next case. Young girls are going missing and are being replaced by dolls in a small town, so Maya goes to investigate it with the help of her young friend Taylor.img_1065

This is a very well written, and engaging story that becomes more and more of a page turner as you get deeper into the story. There is very little, if any, fluff in Fragile. The story moves along at a healthy and natural pace. The characters are well layered and feel very real, whether it’s those who don’t get much page time like Alan or main characters like Maya and Taylor, they all have a genuineness to them.

Justin Macumber is really good at setting tones for his stories. I found in this and the first novel in the series, Stil Water, especially that he can give you (the reader) a great idea of where these stories take place without overloading the story with details about how the world looks. He gives just enough to set the imagination free, which I think helps the story move along more smoothly.

The story has some pretty chilling moments in it (obviously) but it also has heart and humour as well. Much of the humour is in the dialogue, which is very strong and adds to the character’s personalities. It is a story where I said ‘damn’ and ‘oh shit’ out loud a number of times.

A quick note on the cover by Scott Macumber, it freaks me out. In a good way though, in the way that I can’t quite take my eyes off it despite the feeling that it’s trying to eat my soul.

I’ve now read five of Justin Macumber’s books and it’s great seeing him growing as a writer. Each novel feels a little more refined, a little more stronger, and like Macumber is pushing himself harder and not letting himself get comfortable now that he’s had a few books published.

Stil Water was my favourite Justin R. Macumber novel, but Fragile has just raced passed it.

Book Review: Blood In The Paint by Jordanna East

At the end of last week I received an Advanced Review Copy of Blood In The Paint by Jordanna East.

The story centres around three characters, Dr. Gillian Atford, who is a successful psychologist who has had a few issues in her past. Lyla Kyle, an artist who moonlights as a punisher of men who cheat on their wives and Jason Brighthouse, a police officer who is desperate to become a detective just like his late father.

All three of them have traumatic pasts and all three of them find that their lives spiral together by their actions.

 

I’ve been waiting for this novel since I read it’s prequel, Blood In The Past (https://petergermany.com/2013/07/24/book-review-blood-in-the-past-by-jordanna-east/)

Now you don’t have to read the prequel novella before reading Blood In The Paint but I would recommend it, As I read Blood In The Paint I did have some moments when I said ‘Oh Sh*T!’ because I recognised something from the prequel.

Blood In The Paint is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I knocked this novel out in five days or so, I would have read it quicker but I’m a slow reader and I needed sleep. As I read through the pages I was getting more and more sucked into it, each page demanded that I turn it and when I got to the end of a chapter I couldn’t scroll the screen down quick enough to continue with the story.

The characters have a strong depth to them which is clear from the start of the novel but as you progress through it that depth is revelled and fleshed out even more. Jordanna East is not afraid to push her characters and she was able to pull me into it to the point where, despite my manliness (LMAO!), I got chocked up near the end of the novel. It takes a lot to get that sort of reaction out of me when I’m reading a book so that did impress me.

The whole book did that though, impress me. The  characters were good, as I’ve said. the storyline was very interesting and fascinated me the more that I read of it. The detail that was included did not feel like it was being rammed down my throat or was out of my ability to comprehend it. It was written in a way that made it very easy to understand.

I liked the fact there’s no fat in it at all. Sometimes a novel will have a lot of fluff to pad them out but this one didn’t, I can’t recall any parts where I was bored by or found the content useless.

In full disclosure I will say that I’ve gotten to know Jordanna a little through blogging and social media, but I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m not giving an honest review here. I’m not someone who will just say its great for the sake of it, because if it isn’t then I look stupid. So when I say that this is an incredible good novel, it is, in my opinion, an incredible good novel. In my review for Blood In The Past I said that it was better written then some bestsellers that I have read, and I found Blood In The Paint to match the quality of it prequel novella. Jordanna East is a very talented writer and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

 

Blood In The Paint is available from Monday the 31st of March 2014 and despite having already read it, I will be buying myself a copy come Monday.

Her prequel novella, Blood In The Past, is already available for purchase, here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Past-Prelude-Novella-Series/dp/0989581012/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395867990&sr=8-1&keywords=jordanna+east

And Jordanna’s website is: http://jordannaeast.com/

Please feel free to pop over and say Hi and please check out her fiction, because it is really good 🙂

Book Review: An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Like a lot of people I had heard of Chris Hadfield but I had never paid much attention to him until I heard an interview with him on the Nerdist Podcast. He seemed to have a very easy and likable personality and I enjoyed listening to him speaking about his experiences so I looked up his book on iTunes and found that it was available in audio. I hit purchase, and I’m very glad that I did.

 

Normally anything Biographical is a no-go for me. As a rule I struggle with them but that was when I was reading and not listening and with An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth I was pulled in within the first five minutes. Hadfield himself narrates the audiobook and that likable personality I mentioned earlier came through in his reading. I’m glad Hadfield did narrate the book as there are moments when the emotion of his memories comes through in how he reads the book.

 

I’ve not read many autobiographies but Hadfield’s sounds very sincere and honest. Not only does he mention his highs but he also is not afraid to talk about the times when he was at fault or did something that he later regretted. We get to see just how hard it is to become an astronaut. I’m not someone who has sat looking up into the night sky wishing I could go into space, I always thought it would be neat to do but I never seriously wished to travel into space but after consuming this book I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I stand no chance of ever leaving this planet. The skills these men and women have that get them into the Astronauts office at NASA are quite impressive. Not only do they have to be intelligent, healthy and competent they also need to have the right personality and mind sets.

Of the thousands of people who apply to be astronauts only a handful are successful and Hadfield earnt his place there through a lot of hard work which he is very humble about. He seems like the type of person that you’d get talking to in a bar where there’s a band playing and take an instant liking to him.

 

The pacing is really good, it’s not just a re-telling of his life in chronological order. It jumps from point to point depending on what Hadfield is trying to say with a particular paragraph and it’s all tied up very nicely.

 

It’s almost part autobiography and part self-help guide. Hadfield talks about how thinking about the worst outcome can help with achieving success. I think the phrase he uses is ‘Sweat the small stuff.’ or something along those lines. Basically he is saying if you think of the worst case scenario and how to solve it then if it happens you are prepared for it. This is something that sounds like NASA train their astronauts to do and it sounds like a damn good concept. To me its the ultimate 6 p’s. Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I love that saying and with space exploration it seems like a good way of thinking. Hadfield gives a lot of examples of how this has helped him achieve all that he has.

 

This was the last book I read (listened to) and finished in 2013 and it was a good one to end out the year on. I’ve listened to it twice in the two weeks since I downloaded it and I’ll probably listen to it again before the month is out. It has really inspired me and given me an insight into what life as an astronaut is like and I doubt that I am the only person who has been surprised by just what astronauts do when they’re not floating in zero gravity.

If you have an interest in space then I highly recommend this book. It has changed many of my perceptions and inspired more then a few ideas for my own fiction.

Book Review: Blood In The Past by Jordanna East

I’m just posting a quick book review here tonight as I want to get stuck into a bit more writing tonight.

 

Blood In The Past by Jordanna East  is a prelude novella which tells the story of three people who’s lives cross over during times of personal suffering. Jillian falls for a married man. Lyla finds her mother dead and a young man has to deal with the loss of his father.

I couldn’t put this novella down. The story sucked me into it to the point where I was staying up late to read more of it. The characters have a lot of layers to them and I found that I could understand their pain and why they were doing what they were.

The story is well tied together and never feels rushed which I liked because each character had a good amount of time for me to get to know them. Sometimes in shorter pieces I’ve found that characters or the story do not get the attention that they deserve. Here that is not the case. The level of detail is very good as well. Jordanna East must have done a lot of research for this novella and she lays it onto the page in a way that comes through as very convincing. I learnt a fair bit from it.

As for the actual writing it is incredibly well written. If I had not of known I would never have guessed this is Jordanna East’s debut. I’ll go as far to say its better written then some bestsellers I have read. Her way with words is pure beauty.

I cannot wait for more of Ms. East’s work to be released.

 

Please consider clicking on the link to Jordanna East’s blog below. There she writes some interesting posts and she also has a link to purchase the novella if you like the look of it (in the U.K. it’s less then £2)

 

http://jordannaeast.com/