Review of “Loup-Garou: The Beast of Harmony Falls”, by David Reuben

loup garou2

“No! Don’t go up there! You’ve seen what happened—you know better! No, don’t…!

“…you went up there….WHY??? Oh no! Look out!”

Do you know how hard it is to cover your eyes and still read? But I found myself doing just that while possessed by this book. This was a grade-A horror movie in words.

The second book, but the first in the “Ian McDermott, Ph.D.” series, finds our hero starting out on his new career as a hunter of things of a nightmarish nature. Summoned by Harmony Falls’ authorities (through a website search, no less), Ian has to crawl out of the bottle in order to face a horror that has reared its ugly reality in the small town.

An immense creature, called “Bigfoot” by a survivor, has been seen and experienced in the wilds around Little Merwin, into which Harmony Falls feeds. The old-timers call it “Loup-Garou”—man-wolf. Two hikers are missing, and soon enough into the investigation, someone else is attacked, leaving everyone stunned.

But more than stunned. It is this impetus that stirs them into true action, despite the intrusion of the news media—which learns the awful truth, but can’t do a thing about it (you’ll find out why).

One thing is for certain—secrets of the night are no longer secret, and lives will be changed forever.

 

Mr. Reuben has written a fangtastic (no, that’s not a typo) story here. It has all the elements of horror and suspense that every book needs—missing bodies, lovers looking for excitement in the perilous dark, shadows lurking just beyond our sight, the building suspense that leaves the readers gasping—yep, it has all that.

He has built up a very believable character in Ian McDermott, who any reader can sympathize with. Maybe the losses he endured and the pain he lives with are not on everyone’s daily agenda, but surely his reactions can be believed and understood. The way he works through his own problems to solve the ones plaguing the town is admirable.

The sense of humor throughout (“Chief Bleeds-a-Lot”—ha!) really helps to dispel the horror, so that the reader can get ready for the next dose.

And they do come at regular intervals, believe me…

I’m still waiting to see where the dog fits into all of this…

There is a third book coming out in this series. I’m definitely keeping my eyes peeled for it. (I get the feeling, from the title, that that is not all that might get peeled—yikes!)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with Amy McKlung, author of the Parker Harris series, plus other assorted goodies

 ParkerHarris2

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of “Audie the Angel and the Angel Army”, by Erika Kathryn

audie2

 

When you think of Heaven, what do you think of?

I think a lot of people would envision pearly gates, angels sitting around on clouds, that sort of thing.

Now ask Audie and Cave what it’s really like.

Guess what? It ain’t perfect.

And why? Evil has found a foothold in the Land of Perfection. And it’s taking over the south part of the land. Creatures you wouldn’t expect in eternal bliss are becoming a regular sight, and the Elder Angels are starting to act strange.

Audie is sought on Earth to be brought to Eternity, and Cave, her love-struck admirer, finds a way to go along for the ride–literally. Neither of them have an inkling of what’s going on, and are both surprised to find out that Audie is a Phoenix. She has powers beyond her wildest dreams, not that she had ever dreamt of such a thing in her life.

It’s up to her and her hastily-formed Angel Army, each with powers and abilities of their own, to put their heavenly home to rights once again. With a rallying cry of “Have faith in me”, they fight against the foes that try to block their journey to rescue the Elder Angels.

But will they be able to make it in time? There are so many seemingly impossible obstacles–but this is where faith has its finest hour.

 

I love books like this. An army intent on accomplishing the good, while fighting both the evil from without and the uncertainty from within. The author gives her Angel Army some very exciting and suspenseful tasks, and it is so satisfying to see how they get through them. From beginning to end, they lean on each other, bolstering each other’s courage and faith–both in themselves and in each other.

It’s not only a great adventure story, it’s a good lesson on the value of friendship.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of “Zombie War: Little Apocalypse on the Prairie”, by Jean Booth

Jean Booth LAOTP

Judging from the title, one would surmise that this book is a comedic look at the subject of zombies and apocalypses.

One would be very wrong…

In this, the second book of the Zombie War series, the little group of four survivors has grown into a much larger band. With their combined intelligence and know-how, they’ve set themselves up in a very secure refuge in the wilds of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It would take quite an intelligent, organized attack to get through all of the barriers that have been set up around their settlement’s perimeter. And, since fresh humans are no longer in large supply, it is believed that the zombies are getting, well, stupid. Their intellect resources have been pretty much dried up.

This makes the humans feel pretty comfortable inside their enclosure, although it’s a little strange seeing kids playing outside with guns strapped to their hips–the real weapons, not play ones. Outside the fence, though, it’s anyone’s guess, especially when provisions are needed.

And they are needed, badly. A trip to the home improvement store and grocery is not what it used to be–especially when an attack can come from anywhere, including from inside floor-model appliances.

And the danger is expanded exponentially when a scouting party learns that the zombies aren’t quite as stupid and slow as were originally thought…

 

I’m pretty sure I will never go into a warehouse-type store again without looking over my shoulder a lot. Especially if I am one of only a very few people in its aisles.

Ms. Booth has done another great job of creating a world where survival teeters on the edge from every angle. Her characters are so perfect for their roles, and the twist at the end was one I did not see coming. Perhaps it’s because I went along with the belief that the zombies were, um, zombified. The slow-moving, moaning, glaze-eyed, decaying sort that are typical of undead brain-eaters have no part in this book.

The author has published a third book in this series, called “Zombified!” I think I need to get it as soon as possible…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: “Of War and Taters”, by Ashley Chappell

war & taters

*snort* *giggle*

Oh—sorry. I just finished reading “Of War and Taters”, by Ashley Chappell. Hoo-boy—this is not a book that you would want to read in bed while your significant other is trying to get to sleep.

A small-town sherriff (yes, two Rs—the guy who made the badge ran off with the florist before they could get another one made), Stanley Grace is used to the gossip and the mentality of the people of Merit, the town he protects and serves. Whether it be mad women or millionaires, rolling-pin collectors or the husbands they use said utensils upon, he has pretty much seen it all. It’s rather a mix of Mayberry RFD and something Terry Pratchett may have made up.

His own wife has tried to murder him on many occasions and has sweetly denied it, and he pretty much just lets her get away with it. Every once in a while, she finds something else to grace her attentions on, which takes the load off him.

Enter Cud, the stray dog. Formerly called Mr. Cuddle Face by Stanley’s wife, he is seriously considering moving in to the sherriff’s (two Rs) office for good.

This may have also been a bad idea. With the cavalcade of weirdness that suddenly overtakes their town, Stanley and his lone deputy have their hands full, and little dogs are often overlooked. He takes it in stride, though. Life in Merit is never boring.

You know, it’s funny how rumors get started. A gang of ne’er-do-wells, all of them at the ripe old ages of nine through eleven, get themselves and their town in deep national trouble. The media circus, including one Dana Perki (the “I” is silent), swoops down on the burg to investigate. This is happening at approximately the same time as a real sawdust-and-elephants circus is putting up tents in Mad Mother Hinkle’s potato field.

And the population of Merit has grown by one more citizen. Okay, a half a citizen. Maybe.

Monty Gregory, a murdered actor, has decided that he would rather not be dead, thank you. And so it is thus. Sort of.

All of this comes together in a soup bowl of comedy and insanity. What’s surprising is that drama and mystery are thrown into the mix as well, and the result is a very satisfying end.

This was the most hilarious book I have read since the last Terry Pratchett novel. I can honestly compare Ms. Chappell and Mr. Pratchett favorably. Every one of her characters is wonderfully memorable, and there are more twists and turns in this tale than the kinks in Cud’s coat.

I know this will sound over-used, but I really mean it: “Of War and Taters” is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review of “Red Tide: The Flavel House Horror”, by David Reuben

Red Tide

Yikes! Wow, I’m glad this was fiction!

…or was it? Please tell me it was fiction…

Cripes–well, so much for sleeping with the lights off.

Okay, I should back up and let you in on what has me so worked up.

Ian McDermott, a cryptozoologist-turned-private investigator, has come to Astoria, Oregon with a new case to investigate. Fresh from the small town of Harmony Falls, where he’d just finished wrapping up the Loup-Garou investigation, he has heard rumors of some strange goings-on at a new nightclub, The Morgue.

People were disappearing, and all fingers pointed to the owner of the nightclub, one Vladimir Drago Salizzar, who coincidentally blew into town at the same time these disappearances started happening. Was this mere profiling of a strange, enigmatic character, or was there more to these rumors than just talk?

Ian takes on the case, with the blessings of the local police. He and his dog, Scout, are teamed up with one Ned Parker, who can only help him with as much as the authorities have been able to legally uncover.

For the rest of the information he needs, Ian has the lucky chance to meet a local author, Clayton Collins. This man knows a great deal (almost on a personal scale) about the myth and history of the vampire–including the story of Lilith, and the Unholy Power of Three that seems to permeate the vampire world. He introduces Ian to his niece, Zoey, who is only too eager to help him solve this mystery.

Safe and sane, right? Problem solved–bad guys are found, good guys exonerated, all that business.

Oh, you like to think so…but I can assure you that NO ONE here is exactly what he or she seems to be.

Even the dog.

 

This book was so well-written in so many ways. It attracted me first off because I am so familiar with the scenes and names Mr. Reuben used (with official permission) in this book. I’ve been to Astoria and I’ve seen the streets and buildings he so colorfully adds to his tale.

But what really kept my interest was the tightly-woven story, where there were no loose ends–except the intentional ones. Everyone is suspect, which makes for a great mystery story. As I said, even the dog is worth watching….

I liked the way the “extras”, if you will, walked into and out of the book like characters in a movie. No pretentiousness, no “sticking out like a sore thumb”–every one of these people had a part to play, and played it well.

“Loup Garou” is in my line of sight for reading next. I’m sure I will enjoy it as much as I did this book.

And I’m sure that, some day, Mr. Reuben will tell us what happened to Lucy’s body. Until then, I think I’ll visit Astoria in the daylight, thank you.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of “Julie and her Seven Calves”, by Mary Ann Vitale

mary ann vitale

Julie is such a lucky momma cow. All of her calves have a talent that makes each one stand out.

One is fast, another smart. Still another is cute, while another is sweet. They all have attributes that make them dear to their mother.

However, they all have one flaw in common: when it comes to responsibility, they all pass the buck. When Julie gets sick with a cold and can’t provide for her family, she asks her youngsters to help shoulder the load.

One by one, they give their excuses and put the responsibility onto the shoulders of the next calf.

What is a mother to do? Julie knows, and she does it. However, will it work?

 

This is such a special little book, and one that teaches a good lesson: accept your responsibilities and don’t expect someone else to do your work for you. There are consequences that you might find less desirable than the ease of leaving the job to someone else.

The pictures are bright and cute, and would definitely catch the eye of the pre-reader audience. Fun pictures always make an important lesson sink in better.

The author has several other books published, with one coming up soon.  I’m sure that they are all as fun as this one!

http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Ann-Vitale/e/B005EN6RWI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1411942113&sr=8-1

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment