Book Review: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski

This book rocked! I described it to a friend as being 1984 meets The Lego Movie! I didn’t really have any idea of what to expect. I hadn’t read the synopsis or any reviews of it. I just knew it was by an author I wanted to check out.
What really sticks with me is the tone throughout the story is pretty level regardless of what’s happening, but that’s just a thin covering of the real tone of the story.

I listened to the audiobook of this one and the narration by Steve Rimpici was perfect for the book. he got the tone just right.

Billy and the Cloneasaurus was right up my street and is a fantastic modern day dystopian that is gripping and memorable. Definitely worth checking out!

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Forest Underground by Lydian Faust

Forest Underground was very interesting and gripped my attention pretty quickly. Some books can take some time for me to really get committed to them, but this one had me within five minutes.

I liked how Lydian Faust teased a lot of the world but stopped short of really revealing what was going on. I think that may have broken the pace of this novella up too much if there’d been a lot of scene setting.

The story is really interesting and splits into telling the story of the two main characters, and you end up feeling a little for each one and the trials that life has thrown at them.

Pippa Bailey’s narration is on point and works well for the story. She brings an energy that adds to the story incredibly well.

Definitely worth a read/listen, and left me wanting to know more about this setting.

The Silence by Tim Lebbon

I wrote a post about The Silence as I was about halfway through it. I talked about how it was getting under my skin, and how uncomfortable it was making me feel. It made me realise that’s what horror should do. It should make you feel uncomfortable, to the point where you don’t want to carry on with the story. Don’t get me wrong, the gross out stuff is fun but this touched a nerve I’ve only just started accepting that I have.

I’m glad I stuck The Silence out. It is a book that struck at so many of the fears that I have. There are characters that remind me of people I love. I could get on board with some of their motivations as well and decisions as well

I said in the post I wrote the other day that it felt like this book was written for me, simply because so much of it struck me. I understood the fear the characters had, I felt it as they feared for their lives. I felt the conflict when hard decisions had to be made. I felt their grief, and confusion.

Each time the protagonists were pushed by the events around them it felt like a punch in the gut each time. A few years ago I would have stopped listening (I have the audiobook), but the characters kept me going. I needed to know what happened to them in the end. I was cheering for them, hoping they’d get to safety.

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The movie The Ritual (based on Adam Nevill’s book) taught me a lot about horror last year. It gave me a whole new perception of what horror meant. The Silence did ten times more than that. It got under my skin and into my bones.

There is a movie adaptation coming this year, if it’s half as good as this then it’ll be a great movie.

The Warmaster by Dan Abnett

I’ve just finished The Warmaster by Dan Abnett and wow! What a book! I loved how Abnett put this together and how it was tied into Salvations Reach (of which I’m glad I listened to immediately before embarking on The Warmaster). I’d guess there’s a lot more connections in the books that have lead up to The Warmaster, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read them. (I’m really hoping they come up on Audible because I really want to read them again, and listening is quicker for me as I can listen while at work).

The Warmaster picks up for Gaunt and his Ghosts right after their mission to Salvations Reach, but all is not right with their return.

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Such a beautiful edition.

Now, I am a huge fan of this series of books, this being the fourteenth, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I first heard about it a little while ago. There was a gap of time between Salvations Reach and The Warmaster, but it was worth the wait. Dan Abnett really turns things up to eleven in this book. He pushes characters into places that I wasn’t expecting, but that said I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With the Gaunt’s Ghosts books it feels like each book goes in somewhat of a different direction. This one is no different. A lot of the events in this book I didn’t see coming or where they were going to go.  A lot of the characters had their lives turned upside down and Abnett wasn’t scared to kill any of his characters. That is something I learnt a long time ago about Abnett with this series. He is not afraid to kill the most beloved of characters, often in brutal and unfair ways. Even in war where people die for what can be the most silly of reasons, some of the deaths in these books have been a huge kick in the gut. Even when a character doesn’t die, but they are pushed into something harsh and tough to stomach it feels the same as when a loved character dies.

That is one of Abnett’s biggest strengths I think. He can write these stories with a huge cast of characters and you either love or hate them, with the odd middle of the road character in between. You get their motivations, you get their mentalities. It all works very well.

This book really opened up a whole can of hell yeah! And it puts so much out on the table for future novels that has left me bouncing and determined to re-read the previous books again in the new year.

There are many reasons why Dan Abnett is one of my favourite writers, the Gaunt’s Ghosts series is one of them. Beautifully written, to the point where you’re almost there when the las-bolts are flying.

***Very Minor Spoilers Below image***

***(Very Minor) Spoilers***

If you’ve read these books you’ll know there have been three characters that have left over the years that had nothing to do with dying, although one did eventually die if I remember right, but the two that always sits in my mind when I’m reading these books are Brin Milo and a scout called Mkvenner (I can’t for the life of me remember his first name). Both these characters went off for different reasons. For Milo, he went with Saint Sabbat, and I’ve heard rumours that Abnett has always intended Milo and the Ghosts to get back to each other at some point. With The Warmaster, the Saint is on the same planet as Gaunt and his Ghosts. When I found this out I was waiting for them to come together, but it didn’t happen. I really hope Abnett does so in the next book, because aside from the return of Mkvenner, that is one of the moments in this series of novels that I am eagerly waiting for.

I think Dan Abnett is setting up to bring this series to a close, to a point where the Sabbat Worlds Crusade is either won or lost.

Sparks Anthology

On Monday Burdizzo Books announced their next charity Anthology ‘Sparks’. Which includes my story ‘The Last Charge’,  my first published story. This anthology focuses on stories of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and bizarro with the theme of electricity.

Obviously I am over the moon at finally being published, but even more so that it’s in an anthology that is raising money for a good cause, in this case Resources for Autism, and the awesome people involved in the anthology. From Editors Matthew Cash and Em Dehaney through to the other writers in the collection. There are some really cool people involved and I can’t wait to see what they’ve all written.

Sparks is coming soon, please like their Facebook page and Instagram for updates, I will obviously be posting here when the book is out, but please feel free to follow me on social media, the links are on the right hand side of the screen.

Sparks Cover
Cover by Matt Hill
The authors in the collection are: Ash Hartwell, Calum Chalmers, Em Dehaney, Betty Breen, Peter Germany, Lex Jones, Christopher Law, Dani Brown, Matthew Cash, Mark Cassell, Samantha Hill, CH Baum, Pippa Bailey, GH Finn and David Court.

Diving In With No Idea

A couple of times recently Tracie (My Girlfriend) has talked about the movie Shutter Island, and how much she wants to talk to me about it. Now I haven’t seen this one and Tracie dosent want to ruin it by giving anything away so she wants me to watch it. It’s based on a book though, now for me that means I want to read the book first, so I’ve got it 🙂 I need to read it quickly though because I think Tracie would really like to have this chat about this movie.
The only thing that I know of this story is the title, and that Leonardo DiCaprio is in the movie. That’s it, I know nothing else and that’s how I’m going to read the book. I’m not going to read the blurb, I’m not going to google it, nothing. All I know is that people seemed to like the movie.

I like the idea of going in blind, in this day and age we think we know everything when we rarely do, but as I’ve said, I know nothing about this book, author, movie or the director of the movie. It feels a little liberating not having preconceptions 🙂

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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/