Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Johnny Lonesome" by Philip A. McClimon & Chris Sapp (5 Stars)

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Johnny Lonesome
Bay City Chronicles #1
by Philip A. McClimon and Chris Sapp

Genre: Superhero Darkness

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The merry disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The jolly review: I had to shelve this book in order to complete the R2R books I had received before it, but all that did was heighten my anticipation! I didn't feel relief that I had it tucked safely away and waiting for its turn. I felt fidgety to get started and dig my teeth in, and I am not a very patient woman... 

Previous experience with Mr. McClimon's work promised this book was going to be one hell of a ride and I was not to be disappointed. Johhny Lonesome isn't your typical reluctant superhero, but to be fair, he's been afflicted with his certain brand of heroism for nearly twenty years. That's a long damn time to put up with momentarily thankful victims and twisting, debilitating, sudden onset pain like Johnny's.

You see, Johnny gets these urges... Not that kind, fool! We're talking about the stabbing, vomit inducing kind; the sort of urges that make your head want to explode while your stomach cramps in agonizing fits until you've given in and followed the alarm bell to its source. There is no lead-up to this dance. Johnny either suffers horrible, unending pain or he gets himself to the scene of the impending crime to save the day. Understandably, his bedside manner sucks and his willingness to do good becomes all about the cessation of his own pain.

Until he meets Asher Hawkins. This guy is slimy, sickeningly rich, and slimy. He's a scumbag up to no good, our hero's premonitions confirm it's so, and Johnny aims to prove it.

With a colorful cast of characters, like Detectives Gallagher and Kameko, and super sexy reporter Michelle Rodriguez (not the actress), Johnny Lonesome is a must-read. If this review doesn't sell it to you, try this: Johnny started off as a screenplay and was a second rounder at the Austin Film Festival. How's that for creds?

Want to know more? Try Goodreads and Philip McClimon's webby, Chris Sapp's webby, and then get your butt to amazon and buy your own copy.

"What's In My Shorts" by Stan Morris (4 Stars)

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What's in My Shorts?
by Stan Morris

Genre: Mixed Short Story Anthology

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I was given this collection of shorts to read by the author and I waffled a lot over what my rating would be. There is a wide range of ideas here and the author gives a small explanation at the beginning of each short, which I always enjoy seeing. I do think that a cover update in the future would be largely beneficial and I was left wanting more on many of the stories, as they were like the Daisy Dukes of short stories (some only a page long), but the writing is skilled, even if one story in particular, the longest, greatly disturbed me!

My favorite story is called San, the Amphibian and I will tell you why: It's unique. It's refreshing. And it's FUN! San is of a race of amphibious beings that use slaves. In this case, a human girl. The author weaves a tale that expertly reminds you at every turn that this is not a human race. Through their attitude, by their chemical secretions, the way their snouts squish in... You won't want to miss San.

There is also a romantic tale of a chieftain and the princess he acquires that I really, really enjoyed, but it was New Friends that disturbed me and I won't go into detail or that would spoil it for the next reader, but I think you'll see why it affected me this way, as soon as you set your eyeballs to reading it.

Kudos, Stan Morris. For your uniqueness and your daring.

Have I interested you? I know have! See more at Goodreads and then check it out at Amazon.

Happy Holidays!

I hope you are all having a Happy New Year and that your Christmas, Hanukkah, *insert holiday here* were as beautiful and filled with love as mine. <3

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Draculas" by Jeff Strand, Jack Kilborn aka J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, F. Paul Wilson (5 Stars) ***Cntdwn2Jeff***

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by Jeff Strand, Jack Kilborn aka J.A. Konrath,
Blake Crouch, and F. Paul Wilson

Genre: Horror

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I am reviewing this book as part of my Countdown to Jeff series, a lead-up to guest blogger Jeff Strand. "Draculas" is #2 in my series.

What happens when you take a disgustingly rich old man on death's doorstep with his hands on an artifact of the first vampire in creation? Would you know the answer if I told you that artifact was a skull with fangs intact? No? Really? Ok, I'll tell you! He bites himself with it! Glorious!

Mr. Mortimer Moorecook is delivered posthaste to the hospital in an effort to cease his convulsions, because that's what you do when an old man wants to live forever and brilliantly stabs himself in the neck with a mouthful of ancient teeth. It's only to be expected that Mortimer bites someone whilst in his throes, it's just a shame that he's now contagious and what he's got you don't want.

I first read this book shortly after it came out and to me it was like hitting the horror lover jackpot. It has horror movie written all over it. There are the survivors who just want to get the hell out of the hospital alive, you have a woman in labor, a killer clown, sacrifice, a creepy girl, gore, chills, laughs and special features for the die-hard fans. 

At the end of the book, you get to read all of the emails passed between these four horror geniuses as they wrote Draculas, and yes I did read them. All of them. What can I say, as a writer who writes with a friend, I've often wondered how other writers do it! Oh and did I mention, there are black and white sketches to go along with the story? Especially enlightening and gruesome if you're wondering like I did, just what these 'vampires' look like with all those insane teeth splitting their faces. =D

I don't think I need to say much more, other than that my favorite bloke in the book doesn't live, which blows, but hey. Someone's gotta be a hero.

Want to read it RIGHT NOW? You better believe you do! Run, crawl or fly over to amazon and pick up your own copy, and stay tuned for the next installment in the Countdown to Jeff.

"Division of the Marked" by March McCarron (5 Stars)

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Division of the Marked
Book #1, The Marked Series
by March McCarron

Genre: Fantasy

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and I have to say it. Fantasy can be hard to do. If your story's setting forces you to research a town or city, or it's history, you likely have to worry about stepping on a native's toes. You might goof up how many miles it takes to get to the town hall from the town line, and you better believe someone will notice. If you've never visited that perfect setting but you're positive you've done all the research you could possibly do before you start to hate it, you can still manage to screw up the climate on December 1st, 2002 in the middle of downtown. When this happens, well, making up your own darn world just might sound pretty sweet.

...Until you realize that you have to MAKE UP YOUR OWN DARN WORLD. People, clothing, cultures, religions, city- and landscapes, environmental factors, and even food sources. It can be helluva tricky but March McCarron really pulled this off in her book series, The Marked.

On the day of Da Un Marcu, 50 boys and girls aged 14 years will be Marked. A red symbol will appear on their neck like a tattoo and they will be taken; taken into a whole new life where they will become a part of an order known as the Chisanta. Once the child passes a rigorous, often violent test, they join one of two halves of the Chisanta. The fiery and passionate Chiona or the calmer, internal Cosanta.

A sweetly innocent romance starts right away between two of the Marked children on their way to the Temple where they will be tested. They are completely different, Bray a girl who has lost her parents and was suffered to live with an abusive uncle, and Yarrow, the loved son of a general store owner with a gaggle of brothers and sisters.

Many strong, lasting friendships are developed (I especially like Peer!), some fading away as the division between their two groups separates them, but ten years later they will all be thrust together again to try and solve a murder that will have long reaching consequences that will test their skills, their powers, and their friendships.

I reaaaaally look forward to the next book in this series and when you see how it ends, so will you!

Want to learn more? Check out this title on Goodreads and then hop on over to amazon to pick up your own copy!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blech!, two special Geek moments, and a crap ton of (these)

I feel just blech!
Really. If there was any time I would show you the spoon, now would be it. (ref. spoon theory)

 Lately I just can't seem to get a break from being in pain. I'm back to hardly able to stand up, let alone hobble anywhere, so this means I'm spending way too much freakin' time trying to prop up in bed with a gazillion pillows, 3 dogs, 1 cat and a tablet-thank-god (actually, thank the husband). The doctors (the many of them) are getting to the point where it's all about the pain management. Pool therapy is awesome if you can get carried to the car and not cry the 30 minutes to the appointment.

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Wolf Hunt" by Jeff Strand (5 Stars) ***Cntdwn2Jeff***

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Wolf Hunt
by Jeff Strand

Genre: Horror

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I am reviewing this book as part of my lead-up to guest blogger Jeff Strand! "Wolf Hunt" is #1 in my series, a Countdown to Jeff.

Their names are George and Lou and they've been hired to do a job. A delivery job. Because that's what they do. They pick things up and then they deliver said things. Money... thin, pasty men in cages who might be a werewolf...

George and Lou are a team. They're best friends, they're thugs for hire and they're good enough that they can make their own rules. They don't do anything that involves kids and they won't commit murder, because they have standards. Transporting a man in a cage doesn't break their rules so they accept. As one might imagine, it's the worst mistake of their careers, let alone their lives.

Meet Ivan the werewolf. He says he isn't and he says it loudly and he doesn't appear to be afraid of his captors. He's not too keen on the scientist he's supposed to be handed over to, however, and he's pretty good at running his mouth until his transporters want to kill him out of sheer frustration.

But it's not all fun and games! It seems that dogs have a real problem with Ivan around. A suicidal, homicidal aggression that affects the smallest dog to the largest; dogs just want to kill when Ivan is near and no amount of trauma will stop them. This is how our thugs with heart save, and unwittingly take on, another passenger who can't decide what's what in this hilariously dark thrill ride that turns two professional goons into heroes when they try to recapture the psychotic Ivan who really is a werewolf with a thirst for murder!

Want your own copy? Of course you do! Run, crawl or fly over to amazon and get one for yourself and stay tuned for the next installment of Countdown to Jeff, leading up to the howdy-do of our soon-to-be guest blogger, Jeff Strand.

Jeff Strand is Coming!

The Gleefully Macabre man himself!
It is with tickled, fan girl delight that I inform the world (that is, anyone who will listen) of my first ever guest poster here at Sister Sinister Speaks. The extremely talented horror writer, Jeff Strand, will be guest posting here early next year. That's in, like, just a few months!! The geek in me probably won't be able to stifle my excitement. In fact, I know I won't so I have devised a way to brag about it at a minimum of twice a month until it happens. I am calling it my Countdown to Jeff series. Clever, eh?

Every month I will post a review of two of Jeff Strand's books. If you know me or have read my post on Reviewing, you know that I am a big lover of this author's works, so this won't be a hardship, I promise you. We're going to start with my favorite book of his to date, "Wolf Hunt", a story about a couple of thugs who get more than they bargained for in the back of their delivery vehicle.

With Mr. Strand's unique brand of humor and imaginative horror, you will definitely want to check him out if you haven't already, and if you've not heard of him, now is your chance! Check out my Countdown to Jeff series and then ask yourself - "Jeff Strand, where have you been all my life?"

Can't wait? Want to know more NOW? Then visit Mr. Horror at Goodreads, Amazon, and his website to get into his self-styled and accurately described world of the gleefully macabre.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Automatic Woman" by Nathan Yocum (5 Stars)

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Automatic Woman
by Nathan Yocum

Genre: Steampunk Mystery Noir

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I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review and WOW. This read like a seedy, back alley mystery to me, full of Steampunk goodness!

The main man whose Point Of View we follow not only has an epic name but an epic voice. Jacob "Jolly" Fellows tells his tale to a recording device held by the metro police of 1888 London. He's under arrest and he's telling it like it is and exactly as it happened to him.

Which is? What happened to Jolly, our rotund steam engine of a man? He's something of a detective, a thief-catcher, working for a Firm who hires him and his thugly ways to track down a ... an automatic ballerina?! That's right! He's seen her, the Swan Princess, and her fellow automaton dancers. The private joy of their creator. And he's seen her do something horrible. Something like murder.

Now Jolly has to find the rogue machine, clear his name, and stop getting hurt in the process! He has heads to bash, a prostitute to fall for, and a bunch of animal mask wearing murderers to reveal.

Sounds awesome? Check it out at Goodreads and then pick up your own copy at amazon.

"Surviving the Fog - Kathy's Recollections" by Stan Morris (5 Stars)

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Surviving the Fog - Kathy's Recollections
Surviving the Fog #2
by Stan Morris

Genre: Survival/Apocalypse-Dystopian

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and the first thing I noticed was that this was a parallel story from the point of view of one of the characters in a previous book, "Surviving the Fog". I was greatly impressed that I did not need to read the first book in order to enjoy Kathy's Recollections, and from what I understand, this book delved deeper into relationships, characters, and the Fog itself.

The story is about a group of kids sent off to summer camp, but not just any summer camp. This retreat's theme is Abstinence and Safe Sex. It really is. Once you get past that, however, you start seeing how it's about so much more than that. The camp councilors want to teach the kids about respect for self and others. I'm guessing their methods wouldn't have been nearly as effective as the life and death struggles that become the real teachers once the Fog traps the campers on the mountain. 

Alone. With no adults. A dwindling food supply. And other survivors.

Kathy's Recollections is a big book. You won't finish this one in a single sitting! It contains some violence, which is unavoidable in a realistic tale of survival, as well as valuable lesson learning, relationship building, and heartwarming coming togethers. If you like survival stories, you won't want to miss this one!

Want to learn more? Visit Goodreads and then amazon to buy your own copy! Want to start with book #1? Find it HERE for free!