Review: Dead Life #1


This review originally appeared at Geek-O-Rama.

 

Writer: Jean-CharlesGaudin
Artist: Joan Urgell
Colors: Folny
Publisher: Titan Comics

Ground Zero. Stephen did not know that getting into his grandfather’s treasures in the attic so he could play Indiana Jones with the neighbor down the trail would lead to an outbreak. He was just having fun. How would he know?

Dead Life is an English reprint of the French comic, Dead Life: Crépuscule.

The story starts with scenes of life. Normal conversations and disagreements between husband and wife, the casual meal with extended family as Curtis and Kate return to his parents’ home to pick up their son, Stephen. When Curtis’s dad returns to the attic to retrieve some books he notices that one of his boxes has been opened and the contents are missing. Continue reading “Review: Dead Life #1”

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Alyson Miers: What Is So Special About Vampires?


Alyson Miers

Alyson Miers“A vampire, a fairy and a ghost all climb into an ambulance…”

If life is a funny thing, death has a wicked sense of humor.

President Miranda Hutchinson orchestrated the dissolution of the magical colony of Rezarta following its attempted secession, and three years after her death, no one has any idea that a ghost remains.

Journalist Scanlon Ness exposed the relationship between vampires and organized crime, but he can’t protect himself from joining the ranks of the thirsty dead.

The most perceptive eyes and ears of her generation belong to artist Meliana Lucas, but it is to her surprise when she sees the spirit of a woman who died but did not depart.

Humanity’s answer to the incompletely dead has long been to shun vampires and ignore ghosts. Miranda needs to be heard, and Meliana won’t let the barrier between living and haunting stand in her way. There are some who don’t want Miranda to regain her voice, and for someone like Meliana, the friendship of a ghost is no protection. The paths of artist, ghost and newborn vampire will come crashing together, and they are not prepared for how the dust will clear.

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Guest post by Alyson Miers

What is so special about vampires?

It used to be that blood-sucking creatures of the night were vicious, predatory (albeit seductive) objects of fear, nothing more. In recent decades, they’ve become more complex. We used to be afraid of vampires, and werewolves, and now everyone wants to date them. Buffy the Vampire Slayer raised us to understand that vampires and demons could be friends to mortals, instead of foes, if they were so determined. While I have not read the Twilight series, I can understand Meyer’s interest in the pathos of vampires and werewolves. These are concepts of dangerous magical creatures who used to be human and now have little choice but to prey on humans.

My new novel includes vampires but not werewolves. There are various reasons for the omission, which may include that vampires’ condition affects them the same way all month long, and that they pass for human as long as they’re not eating. An important difference between werewolves and vampires is that for the latter, attacking humans is not merely about aggression and compulsion, but about survival. Blood is their food, and what happens when a vampire starves? This is one of the questions that arise in Suicide is for Mortals.

What remains of the people they used to be, and how do they feel about killing and eating people? How were they turned? There is space in the concepts for people to ask to become predatory creatures, but most of the ones we read about were turned against their will. Do they have any agency in the transition from victim of magical assault to nocturnal predator? Do they have little choice in preying on mortal humans like they used to be, or no choice at all? If there is a choice in the matter, how do they figure that out, and how do they exercise what little control they have?

Has a vampire ever tried to kill himself, and if so, what was the result? Even if he does everything right after joining the undead, how happy can he ever be? How do the undead get along with each other? How does the pursuit of pleasure change for those who can’t go out in daylight? What does love mean to those who feed on the blood of people who could have been their neighbors, friends and family?

These are the questions we ask when we write stories about vampires who aren’t villains, or even those who are villains but still have their own stories to tell. These are the paths we want to walk when we read these stories.

The struggle over these changes surely leads many of the predatory undead to brood and rage against the loss of their humanity, even as the transition makes them more powerful than they could ever have been as mortals. We love the idea of that brooding, tortured soul lurking in our graveyards and dark alleys, don’t we? We’d love to be there to comfort him, and for the most part we don’t want to join him. We’re confident that the gorgeous undead predator would never hut us, tempting thought it may be to sink his fangs into our necks.

My vamps looked over my list of talking points for their condition and told me to pull up a comfy chair and get out some paper and pen, because I had a lot to learn from them. My bewildered newborn Scanlon, his cynical pack leader Andra, and our hardened predator Patrick love to turn my ideas upside down and shake them to see what falls out of their pockets. Nevertheless, they appreciate my willingness to listen to them, and they will be glad to meet you. Patrick will never say so, but Scanlon will be pleased to make your acquaintance.

Of course, my vamps do not hold this novel’s attention undivided in coping with the trials of immortality. The world of After Rezarta also bears ghosts. In the hierarchy of the living and undead, mocking and taunting ghosts is the only thing that lets vampires forget about their condition. Our ghost, Miranda, has a complicated history with the magical community, which makes it all the sweeter for the vamps to find out she’s a “spook.” I’m not pleased with the way they treat her, but she dealt with much worse in her lifetime. One might think the undead and the spectral would be prepared to band together, but they have in common that they used to be human, and we humans know how gifted we are at exacerbating our divisions and undermining our common interests. Innocent people may well die if those vamps cannot deign to listen to their hated ghost. I will simply have to trust my vamps to do the right thing.

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Book Review – Devil Music


Book ReviewWhat’s a demon to do? When Cain’s master sends him across the country on an impossible mission to convince a girl to fall in love with his eldest son, the demon has no choice but to go. Before long Cain finds himself the lead guitarist in a heavy metal band, but can he keep his master happy while avoiding the mysterious serial killer known only as The Engineer?

THE GOOD

This is a clever book that takes the Urban Fantasy and twists it around into something a little more. There is suspense, romance and danger in the pages of the book and it blends together into a supernatural drama. The story is well written and the main characters of the book are unique and easily discernible from one another. The primary setting is the club scene of early eighties Los Angeles and it fits the story perfectly. The reader really gets a feel for the scene and it pulls the book together perfectly.

THE BAD

This is a long book and it is a long read. The first third of the book slowly introduces the characters and their place in the story. It can be a little hard to get through. When things start to happen in the middle third the action is still slow as the plot slowly grinds forward. The action really doesn’t start to kick in until the last third of the books, but when it does it is worth it. The author misses an opportunity to inject action into the earlier part of the books so that by the time the reader reaches the end of the book the tension is ratcheted up to a crescendo.

THE TAKEAWAY

This is a good book. It is well written with a good plot and excellent characters. This is not a quick read and may take some patience in the beginning, but the ending is worth it when you get there. I would recommend this as a good winter book where you can sit and read it over a long stretch. Throw in a selection of early eighties metal before each read and you’ll be right in the middle of the action.

Book Review
Carly Orosz

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of Devil Music! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Devil Music tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: Cain Pseudomantis leads a miserable life. Bound to the mortal world by a powerful spell no demon could hope to break, he must obey his human master’s every command or face harsh punishment. He finds solace in the rock music which he listens to when he isn’t running unsavory errands for his master. Then everything changes. While on a mission in a seedy section of 1980s Los Angeles, Cain impulsively buys an electric guitar and discovers an unusual talent for music, a talent that catapults him to hair metal stardom. With three superpowered human band mates and his beautiful girlfriend Michelle by his side, his life starts to look a lot better. But Cain soon finds that even rock stars have troubles. The crusading televangelist Nathaniel Breen—who happens to be Michelle’s father—accuses him of turning the city’s youth to Satan worship. Meanwhile a mysterious killer known only as the Engineer terrorizes the Los Angeles rock scene with a series of brutal murders. When Cain and his friends attempt to unmask the killer, they discover a deadly secret that could cost Cain his hard-won freedom, and possibly his life.Get Devil Music through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

About the author: Carly Orosz lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her husband. She graduated from Kalamazoo College and went on to earn an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry has been published in Wavelength Journal and SpoutMagazine. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, weaving on a hand loom, and studying the art and cultures of pre-Columbian Mexico.
Connect with Carly on her website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads..
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Book Review – The Demon Stone


Today I’m excited to bring you a Guest Post and Kindle Fire Giveaway from Chris Datta. His first Novel Touched with Fire was a number one best-seller in the Historical Fiction category, and this supernatural thriller lives up to the high expectations readers have for this talented author.

The Demon Stone by Christoper Datta

Book Review
The Demon Stone is a powerful supernatural thriller that leads you from the killing fields of Africa to the quiet Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. In braided narratives, Datta spins a terrifying story about the spiritual forces—both real and supernatural—that incite the basest, bloodiest and most frightening of human behaviors.
“Reading Chris Datta is like riding a rollercoaster. It’s a fast ride filled with twists and turns. His Demon Stone is scary fun. Stephen King, watch your back!”
-Richard Rashke, author of The Killing of Karen Silkwood
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Review of The Demon Stone

When faced with a choice between life and death or right and wrong, most people will choose life and what is right, but what if they are faced with the choice of doing what is right and dying or doing something wrong and living? This is a test of character, of the true nature of a person. When Kevin goes to Africa to visit his best friend, Bill, he is forced to make just such a choice, and the consequences of that choice haunt him when he returns home to his wife and daughter.

THE GOOD

The Demon Stone is a real page turner of a story filled with suspense and real world horror. The supernatural elements of the story are almost an afterthought and don’t  really make an appearance until the second half of the book. The characters are well done and dynamic. The switches in time and setting were a great way to build up the suspense and explain exactly what happened to Kevin and his family.

THE BAD

There is not much to complain about with this novel. If anything I would have liked to see it be a little longer so the tension in the second half could be ratcheted up even higher, but this is a minor consideration.

THE TAKEAWAY

I really enjoyed this book and  if you are a fan of suspense and the supernatural I think you will enjoy this book as well. The story is rooted in a world all too real and will leave you questioning how much of the story is real and how much is fantasy. I recommend picking this one up as soon as you can.

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About the Author

Chris1Debut author CHRISTOPHER DATTA is no stranger to civil conflict or the still-extant scourge of slavery. Most recently the acting ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan where he helped end a war in April of 2012, he has spent a distinguished career moving from one strife-torn country to another, including Lebanon, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. A lifelong student of the American Civil War, his research for Touched with Fire is exacting and based in part on a true story.

Book Review: Souls of Darkness


Taiya looked furious. She stood in front of Alex’s house, waiting for him to go in, but he refused.

“I’ll take you home.”

“I don’t need you to take me home.”

“But I want to.”

“Alex, please, it’s getting dark.”

“I’m not afraid of dark.”

“You’re so pigheaded.” Taiya rode away.

“Will you at least tell me why I can’t be out after dark?” Alex said, having a hard time with the holes, which Taiya seemed to know by heart.

“Because of a very evil spirit.”

“Oh, c’mon. We’re running from a ghost?”

“Spirit.”

“Whatever.”

When they reached Taiya’s house, the door swung open and Kala, her mother, loomed in the doorway. She glared from Taiya to Alex. Now that’s scary.

“Don’t bother. He doesn’t believe in spirits.” Taiya left her bike and ran in through the door without giving Alex as much as a glance.

“Go home, Alex. Now,” Kala said, before she banged the door shut, leaving no room for discussion.

Offended and humiliated, Alex started on his way back. “Stupid people. Stupid beliefs. And stupid lack of lights,” he mumbled, as his front tire hit a hole and he realized he couldn’t make out the road. The lack of street lamps would be a definite reason to get home before dark.

Alex had his eyes glued onto the ground when he heard the high-pitched whistle split the air, followed by a gust of icy wind that made his bike wobble. This is not happening. The wind picked up, and he lost his balance. In slow motion, the bike fell sideways.

Alex tried to move his arms to cushion the fall, but his hands seemed glued to the handlebar. A sharp pain gripped his right upper arm as he landed on a rock.

He looked around, terrified, while he scrambled to get up. The high-pitched whistle stopped and the wind died down as he lifted the bike.

“Whatever.” He peddled as fast as he could, while struggling to stay on the road. His arm ached every time he swerved. He expected to see the lights from his house at any moment, at least the ones from the porch, but there were none, only pitch black. Maybe the trees were blocking them, or maybe his mother hadn’t turned them on yet.

He gasped when he saw two gray shadows speed across the road, a few feet ahead of him. His bike wobbled, as he pivoted to see where they’d gone. He could fight one guy, but not two. What did they want? Why not just attack him?

Beaty, Eleanor T (2013-02-05). Souls of Darkness (Kindle Locations 593-621).  . Kindle Edition.

Book Review Souls of Darkness
souls of Darkness Front Cover

Taking a trip to a strange and exotic land can be a life altering experience. The everyday things you take for granted in your home town might be different or not even exist in the land you visit. Music, politics, technology, food and religion can be unlike anything you are familiar with and might leave you wishing you had just stayed home. If you were Alex, the main character of Eleanor T. Beaty’s Souls of Darkness, you would have wished that and then some before you even reached your final destination. Continue reading “Book Review: Souls of Darkness”

Book Review: 2012: Timeline Apocalypse


I heard a cry, looked up and there in a ray of sunshine, a bird spread its wings in a stretched arc above its head. He had his red crest completely fanned out and it radiated in the sunlight. The tips of the feathers, both in the wings and the fanned tail were aglow, the colors iridescent in the morning light. My heart lifted at the sight. It appeared the bird was about to ignite and burst into flame like the legendary phoenix being reborn.

“Magnificent, isn’t it?” Montoya whispered behind me.

“Stunning,” I replied softly not wanting to break the magic.

“It is a moment like that when an Mayan priest realizes the fullness of communing with the creatures of the forest. You and I are of the modern world, the one filled with hustle and bustle, steel and concrete; but if you allow yourself to drift back a thousand years and know nothing but nature, what would you think?” Montoya asked.

It was an instantaneous thought. “The bird is an omen,” I whispered, knowing full well it was the answer he was searching for.

“It is still an omen today,” he said.

Bob Nailor (2010-09-10T04:00:00+00:00). 2012: Timeline Apocalypse (Kindle Locations 1037-1046). 23 House. Kindle Edition.

 

You would almost have to live in a cave not to have heard about the impending end of the world as predicated by the Mayan long calendar. Of course how the world will end or what the end really means is up for a lot of interpretation, Continue reading “Book Review: 2012: Timeline Apocalypse”

Book Review: Bone Dressing


“I mean honestly, how could I possibly be sitting on the roof of some stranger’s house, in the middle of the night no less, chaos and destruction laid out in front of me, caused by me, and feel…comforted, righteous even?”

It is hard for me to remember how angst ridden my life as a teenager was, and to be honest there were moments that were times when my life would have fit into any teenage drama, but it seems like so long ago that I can hardly believe that it was me.  As a consequence I’m not a big fan of much that has to do with the life of teenagers.  Continue reading “Book Review: Bone Dressing”