Book Review: Zombies from Space…and Vampires by Angela B. Chrysler

Book Review: Zombies from Space…and Vampires by Angela B. Chrysler
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These images were taken from Amazon.com for review purposes under fair use.

Character:  Aria is a solid character. I’d label this at YA hoping Angela is OK with that. Most stories that feature a young woman (Aria is 19), fall into that category. She’s  a solid character to build around. She’s the one sane person in this madhouse of a story, and that makes her charming. Where everyone else is Level 11 zany, she’s the one normal spot in the book, which ups the conflict and provides an interesting backdrop to the story. As I mentioned above, every character in this book was inspired by a member of the real life Slush Brain. I’m biased here, but the cast is just a lot of fun.

Exposition: There’s a bit more here than usual, but you need to explain how alien zombies and vampires managed to pop up in modern day earth. It’s done with decent pacing, and there’s plenty of action to offset it.

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This image was used in a previous post. It was given with the author’s permission.

Description:  This had most of the description in the right parts: action and mayhem. Though the characters are also very clear in the imagination. I honestly just loved seeing these characters come to life.

Overall:  This has a bit of a cliffhanger, but the story is episodic in nature, so it’s to be expected. Every now and then, a reader needs a story that’s just good times and cool, zany action. This is that book. I enjoyed it, and I’m hoping to see more from the story.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

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Announcing the September Book Cover of the Month

Announcing the September Book Cover of the Month

Hello everyone,

The September Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. Regrettably, it is officially the record holder for the least voted on month in the bracket’s history. These things happen sometime. I’ll work harder to spread word, but I still want to thank everyone who did get involved. These brackets are special to me, and they grow more legitimate and meaningful each time we keep heading forward.

We had 2,092 votes this month. Here’s hoping this month holds the record for a long time.

We’ll keep moving on, but today is all about celebrating this month’s winner.

The September Book Cover of the Month is…

 

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Night Stalker by R.L. Weeks! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Weeks received 162 total votes. This was honestly a close fight in terms of votes, but Weeks took the lead with about four days to go and didn’t let go.

SEPT_Cover_Collage_175The Festival of Trial and Ember Forest finished second, which means that’ll have another chance to be the Book Cover of the Month for October.

That said, Weeks is the winner this month, so let’s look at her book.

 

 

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Casey and George are traveling around Japan’s notorious suicide forest when they see something move in the tree line and Casey can’t shake the feeling that someone has been following them.

Later that night, Casey wakes up to find a woman in their room. After breaking free of the woman’s entrancement, Casey wakes George, who convinces her it was just a dream.
George has been acting off since their visit to Japan. Now they’re home, the worst happens and George is killed in a freak accident.

It’s one year later and she’s about to leave her small hometown, Pleasant Springs – in hopes that her nightmares would end. Since his death, her dreams have been haunted by a mystery guy who is hellbent on causing her pain, but, before she makes it to the airport, Casey is kidnapped and taken to the hotel from her nightmares.

She is plunged into a creepy world filled with the supernatural, underground cities, and sick games.

Her mystery guy tells her he is trying to save her from the others. However, her ex – George could be behind her kidnapping in the most sinister way.
Nothing is as it seems in the dark world of the Stalkers.

(END BLURB)

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s coverJones’s CoverHubert’s Cover,  MacNiven’s cover,  Jon del Arroz’sRob J. Hayes’s, and Chris Philbrook’s They are also on my TBR. Manning’s review is here.  Howard’s review is here. Deyo’s review is here. I’ve read Jones’s book, and I’ll post a review for it in a few weeks.


Here’s
 Weeks’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about her and her work.

I don’t know who the artist is yet, but I’ll see if Weeks will help with that.

The October bracket is still under development, but it looks good so far. It’ll kick of Nov. 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Don’t Mind Me. I’m Just Working

I’ve been so caught up in getting the second edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter done, I honestly forgot what day it was. The good news is I’m 82 percent through the final proofread. I’ll announce the Book Cover of the Month tomorrow, so stop by for that. If you haven’t already voted, please do so here.

Sorry for what amounts to an excuse for why I don’t have a post today, but I really am trying to get this out and available as soon as possible.

Oh! I got my first alpha reader feedback for Repressed (Thanks again, Grace!).  Early feedback is very positive!   So I’m hard at work.  See you tomorrow!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: No Marine Left Behind by J.R. Handley

Book Review: No Marine Left Behind by J.R. Handley

51X3LhVUF4L._SY346_Spoiler Free Summary: No Marine Left Behind is a short story featuring Sashala Kraevoi. Author J.R. Handley gives us a deeper glimpse into one of the characters in the series. Sashala starts out leading a normal mission, but when one of her Marines ends up alone and surrounded by aliens and steeped in hopeless odds, Sashala charges to the rescue. Survival is mandatory. Escape is the goal.

Character:  Sashala is a strong character (I mean that literally, she’s physically strong), which is nice. Having served with some amazing Marines (both man and woman), I like seeing a woman take the lead now and then. For a story this short, there wasn’t a lot of room for development, but you still get to see how determined she is.  That determination is her best asset.

Exposition: I’ll admit Andrew get’s a little heavy handed here, but there’s a purpose to this. His wordplay is brilliant, but it can’t survive in dialogue alone. The humor of said word-play is more than fair compensation for the slightly higher-than-average exposition.

610MUtV2gSL._UX250_Dialogue: I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve read this story. I think some of it felt a bit “too” Marine for my taste. What I mean by this is there wasn’t much beyond the orders and stereotypical banter. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination; it just didn’t add a lot to the character.

Description:  It didn’t bother me so much, especially with a story this short. There wasn’t a lot of description. This story is driven by action and pacing. Handley didn’t bog that down with overly descriptive blocks of information.

Overall:  This was a fun “dinner” read. (No really, I read it during a meal.) It’s action packed and full of cool fight scenes and scifi visual moments. It had an 80s action movie feel to it that I liked.

Thanks for reading

Matt

September Book Cover of the Month Midway Update

September Book Cover of the Month Midway Update

With just about seven days left in this month’s bracket, I thought this would be a good chance to update you all on how things have been progressing. Unfortunately, this is a very slow month. How slow? It’s in the running for the least-voted (full month) competition. (December didn’t have a full 32 entries.)

933 votes so far. Now, as few votes as we’ve had, I will say it’s a very close fight.

510QAdWwRNLFor a Few Credits More, edited by Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey, has had the lead for a few days now.

Most Voted on so far: Scars of the Sand by Frank Dorrian has the most total votes so far with 74.

Least Voted for: Seeds of Blood by C. Chancy. This cover only has a total of seven votes. I think it’s deserving of more than that even if the voters feel it’s not deserving of the championship.

The other good news is that the championships are the closest round. There are essentially three books right in the hunt for the championship. Credits, Sand, and The Festival of Tiral and Ember by Logan Miehl are all within three “finals” votes of each other. This means if either book gets three people to vote them all the way through, they’re right back in the winners’ circle.

51VsRDdVG+LA quick reminder of how the tournament works. The easiest way to win is to have the most people vote for you in every round. The trick is you have to have the most people vote you through in each round, all the way to the final.  As an example, 100 people could vote someone through to the finals, but that doesn’t do a cover any good if he doesn’t win the first round. It’s not total votes. It’s not simple championship votes. The winning cover has to have the most votes in each round of the competition.
Since this is such a slow month, ANYONE can win if they can get nine people to vote them all the way through to the championships.

 

This will be the only update for this type of bracket. It’s been an amazing tournament to watch thus far, and I hope readers continue to support their authors by voting, liking, and sharing the bracket with as many people as possible.  You can vote at this address!

I’ll announce the winner is just seven days!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Just About a Month Left: A Power of Words Anthology Update

Just About a Month Left: A Power of Words Anthology Update

Greetings all,

constitution-62943__340A few weeks back, I let you know about the anthology I’m editing, The Power of Words. While I’m still not entirely sure what the results of this idea of mine will be, I can say I’ve had a few people approach me with interest. I’ve even read a short story for the project, one author was particularly excited about the idea.

I’m still in the planning stages of the anthology as a whole, but I’m working out the kinks. I just wanted to keep awareness up and let people know it’s still scheduled to happen. That of course depends on how many authors submit.

Entries still open Nov. 1.

Entries close Nov. 30.

The word-count limit is now 30,000 (though I’d appreciate if you attempt to keep it below 20,000).

There is no limit on how many projects you can submit, but be advise I will only take one submission from each author.

The story must either be about the First Amendment or inspired by the title “The Power of Words.” As long as your story is about one of those two things, and it falls within the word-count limit, your entry will be valid.

My own story for the anthology is currently third in priority. (Repressed is first. The second edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter is second.) However, I still think it’s a great little heist story with some great plot twists (he said arrogantly).

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All stock images taken from Pixabay.

If this anthology does well at all (a lot of participation, a lot of sales, both), I’ll try to do anthologies on a more regular basis. They’re fun, and it lets me meet other authors and read some great work. I’ve always considered myself one for an eye for talent and good stories, so projects like this let me sort of put it all together.

I hope all of you are typing away on short stories you love for the anthology. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing your entries.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: A Climbing Stock by Andrew Hiller

Book Review: A Climbing Stock by Andrew Hiller

617gnYp90QLSpoiler Free Summary:  A Climbing Stock is one of two books (unrelated) by Andrew Hiller. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and befriending Andrew as well as reviewing his other novel, A Halo of Mushrooms.  Stop me if you heard this one. John, a small businessman, is forced to sell his Corporation of Ordinary Wares. (Do you see it yet?) Instead of selling it to any one of the corporations offering him actual money for his company, John sells COW for 3,000 shares in a stack called Biomicroscopy Endoscopic Arterial NeuroSurgery. (One of those isn’t even a word, and I’m certain there are no arterial veins related to neurosurgery, but have you figured out the plot yet?)

Imagine John’s surprise when those stocks shoot up?

Character:  John is a beautifully naive character. Blissfully ignorant and yet charmingly heroic. It’s been a minute since I’ve read this book, but I have to admit every character is charming in his or her own witty way. Hiller has a knack for charming, and this book is no exception.

Exposition: I’ll admit Andrew get’s a little heavy handed here, but there’s a purpose to this. His wordplay is brilliant, but it can’t survive in dialogue alone. The humor of said word-play is more than fair compensation for the slightly higher-than-average exposition.

andrew-hiller-radioDialogue: This is where the bulk of his clever word-play happens. Reading this dialogue makes me feel like I’m in the world’s greatest dinner theatre, watching the actors play out a scene, winking because they know I get the joke, and I feel like it’s a secret between just me and them.

Description:  There are a few parts here that got a bit muddy, but I’d say the description in this book was better than that of his other novel. The sounds and feelings in this book are more visceral. Even as the plot grows more pleasantly ridiculous, one still feels like he’s right there with the character, even if he’s swimming in a bowl of a giant’s soup.

Overall:  As I type this, Stock is currently my third favorite book for 2017 (Mageborn being the first, and Flash Point being the second).  It takes true intelligence to take something I’d though worn out and breath new life into it by showing us the story through an original character’s eyes. John feels like a cross between Mr. Bean and The Man Who Knew Too Little. I just couldn’t get enough of his antics. Throw so many clever turns of phrases, and you have yourself a book that anyone who just wants to be happy and entertained should definitely pick up.

Thanks for reading

Matt