David’s Haunted Library: Lost World Of Patagonia

David's Haunted Library

 

25526371Many people believe that there are creatures out there that exist where science says it’s not possible. One of those people is Cryptozoologist and university professor, Alex Klasse. Alex has learned of a place where dinosaurs still exist and he has received a grant from the Ace corporation to lead an expedition to find them. Alex will be accompanied by students from his university and a band of mercenaries who are in search of rare jewels. The team is taking two nuclear powered all-terrain vehicles into the unknown where danger lurks around every corner.

Lost World Of Patagonia by Dane Hatchell is an action adventure story complete with man-eating dinosaurs that really did exist at one point. It seemed like the author did his homework on what archaeologists and paleontologists believe dinosaurs looked like, complete with some of them having feathers. It also gets into the idea that mammals may have evolved from lizards. One of my favorite scenes in this book was when the explorers send a drone with a camera attached to explore Patagonia and we get to see the dinosaurs in their natural habitat, If you are into dinosaurs and the science behind their existence this is a good book to pick up.

While Lost World Of Patagonia maybe more science fiction than horror it does have some moments that are pretty terrifying. The book opens with two people running through the wilderness being hunted by dinosaurs. Dane does a great job building suspense as you see these two try to survive in a desperate situation. I don’t want to give anything away, but I loved how the beginning was set up with one character, surviving several cliffhangers. I had figured this character would be the hero of the story but then it goes into a different direction. From the beginning this book had a real anything goes feeling to it.

The action scenes in this book were great and I liked hearing about the dinosaurs, but a lot of the characters came across as one-dimensional. There is a love triangle going on here that had the feel of something out of a bad Syfy channel movie. The way they wrap the love story up made me want to stop reading and the ending to the book was enough to make you yell “what the hell?” I think the story should have spent less time on the characters and more time on the dinosaurs because I didn’t care about these people. Where this book really shines is with the focus on a world that time has forgotten.

Lost World Of Patagonia is a book that starts with a gruesome bang, slows down and then has a crazy ending. I love the concept here, as I was reading I kept thinking it would make a great Science fiction/horror movie. It’s like Jurassic Park but with a lot more detail on the creatures that live in this world. Patagonia is a fascinating place to explore and I’m happy to see that there is a second book available.

David’s Haunted Library: Kill By Numbers

David's Haunted Library

 

 

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It’s tough to be a human in space. Other races look down on humans because they think of them as violent sociopaths. With the human empire disbanded, they are spread out across the galaxy trying to make a living. This brings us to former assassin Raena  who is trying to get a new start on board the alien space ship,the Veracity. Raena has a complicated past, she was a prisoner as the Templars were wiped out by a genetic plague and the situation has created some bad psychological effects.

Raena is having nightmares of shooting her ex-lover in the head and she has to deal with the fact that the now extinct Templars have left booby-trapped biotechnology throughout the galaxy and her ship is infected. Raena and the pirate crew that she is with must learn to trust each other and figure out how to fix the booby-trapped technology or the galactic economy could collapse.

Kill By Numbers by Loren Rhoads is the second book in the wake of the Templars series and could be best described as a character driven action adventure story. This book starts off slow and gets deep into the character’s personalities before getting into the  story. The thing I really enjoy about Loren Rhoads writing is that she creates characters that seem real and gives a lot of detail on them.  To me the sign of a great character in a book is if you want to read about them even if there is no conflict with them. I love good character development in a story before we get into the action and Kill By Numbers does an excellent job of it.

I love the concept behind this book, Raena is a human on a ship of aliens so Raena doesn’t fit in. Raena is trying to start a new life and escape her past, the crew of the Veracity is trying to help but what they want for her and what she wants for herself are two different things. Everyone on the ship is a different kind of alien but because of her past, Raena is the oddest one. I liked the idea that everyone on the ship was so different making it like a melting pot of races.

Another interesting aspect of this book is how the media is portrayed in this futuristic setting. The crew of the ship gathers at the same time every day to see the news and then talk about the new scandals across the galaxy. The media are a lot like how it is in the present and everything that goes on in the news is seen as truth even if there are no facts to back it up. The media are a small part of the story but I liked how even in the future people are addicted to getting information about other political systems and alien races. The best part of the book is the relationship between Raena and Gavin. Gavin wants to help Raena with her new life but seems to hurt her as he tries to help. Kill By Numbers is like an action packed soap opera in space and the kind of book that hard-core Science Fiction fans will love.

Book Review: Contagious by Emily Goodwin

Review of Contagious

by Michele Roger

13416617“I wasn’t afraid of death. If I died, it would be over. My worst fear wasn’t of dying, it was of living. Living, while everyone around me had their flesh savagely torn from their bodies to be shoved into the festering and ever-hungry mouths of zombies. It terrified me, right down to my very core, to be alive while the rest of the world was dead.”

In the midst of the Second Great Depression, twenty-five year old Orissa Penwell doesn’t think things can get any worse. She couldn’t be more wrong. A virus breaks out across the country, leaving the infected crazed, aggressive and very hungry.

Orissa will do anything-no matter if it’s right or wrong- to save the ones she loves. But when she discovers that most of the world is infected or dead, she must decided if those lives are worth saving at all.

In her narrative story telling, Emily Goodwin presents a refreshingly strong female hero in her zombie-infested, survival tale, “Contagious“.  Orissa, the lead character is one part hard-drinking, drug looking party girl but one hundred percent butt kicking strategist and survivalist.  Upon reading it, I likened Orissa to Ellen Ripley in Alien.
Through Orissa, Goodwin thrusts the reader into new literary territory.  While Ripley grappled with her softer maternal instincts, Orissa juggles her command and leadership role against a sharp personal contrasting desire. While saving trapped hospital patients during a zombie plague, her heart wishes to be rescued by the handsome, Irish doctor, Padraic.
A corner-stone to a great zombie story is the element of gore and Goodwin delivers in spades.  From intestine chomping little girls found feasting on the newly dead in the hospital basement to lead pipes through zombie skull death blows at the grocery store, there is plenty for the reader to, errr, feast upon.  While the male characters do their fair share of “fending off the monsters”, it is the focus on blue jeans and leather jacket clad Orissa and her lead pipe weapon of choice that shines.
Contagious is fast-paced, smart and well written.  It’s above-board appeal is its fresh perspective and its gritty narrative.  Goodwin has shown that female writers can make flesh crawl, both living and undead just as well as her male peers.

Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed by Jeff Carlson

22035237When we last saw Alexis Vonderach in Frozen Sky it was the year 2113 and she had just made first contact with an alien race. The creatures that inhabit Jupiter’s moon Europa are referred to as sunfish by Earthlings and they live beneath the frozen surface. Earth had been taking resources from Europa for months before they realized that beneath the ice were hieroglyphics and tunnels. Vonderach and some other explorers met Europa’s locals and they were not friendly.

Flash forward three months and the sunfish and Earthlings have an uneasy truce. This is where we are in the opening of Jeff Carlson’s Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed. Tribe Top Clan Eight-Six has sent one representative who the humans call Tom to an underground module so they can learn more about Europa’s new visitors. Earth has sent Vonderach, together the two learn each other’s language but when the ground starts to quake due to Earth’s machines,  the peace between humans and sunfish may be shattered.

Earth’s leaders start to debate what should happen next as more sunfish arrive with reinforcements. At this part of the book you see that every human in Frozen Sky 2 has their own agenda and only Vonderach is thinking of someone other than herself. War is about to begin between an ancient race who lives for violence and the greedy governments of Earth who only care about Europa’s raw materials.

Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed has a little bit of everything. At one point this book is an action adventure with the battle between sunfish and humans. it’s also a horror novel with Vonderach trapped in an underground room with a hostile alien and the betrayal that goes on later in the book. Later the book becomes a suspense novel with an insane robot that doesn’t know which species that it wants to destroy. It even workes as a political thriller with all the governments of the world and the scientists having their own agenda and manipulating each other to get what they need. Even the sunfish have tribes and agendas and battle each other to have the best living conditions. I really enjoyed hearing about how they lived.

I took Europa as a metaphor for early life on earth with sunfish representing caveman who battle for limited resources. That being said, you also see the supposedly advanced humans who still battle each other like the primitive sunfish. I loved how in the beginning of this book Jeff Carlson includes a timeline giving all the advancements of Earth throughout time and in this story you also see how sunfish civilization have risen and fallen over the centuries and you began to understand that they really aren’t that different.

Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed is an excellent novel on many levels. My favorite parts were the interactions between Vonderach and Tom as they try to work out deals and learn about each other. I also loved Vonderach trying to reason with the crazy robot that has the memories of the scientist she once worked with. Despite the great action and political intrigue in this novel it was the personal relationships between the different characters that I enjoyed.

Frozen Sky 2: Betrayed is the work of a master storyteller and a great example of what good Science Fiction should be.

 

 

 

The Colony: Renegades

18628643Its only been a few hours since society has collapsed and already the zombies are evolving. They are smarter, faster, stronger,  they spit acid and there are more of them. Things look bleak for Ken Strickland and the other survivors, but they have hope and they will do what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse. This is the story behind book 2 in Michaelbrent Colling’s zombie trilogy, The Colony: Renegades

In book one of this series, the zombies were not as strong and the the thing you wondered about most was will Ken find his family? In The Renegades the main point I wondered about was how were the characters going to survive in this new world where there are zombies at every turn. These zombies aren’t the kind that stumble through the street and walk slow, they are smart, they work as a team and can communicate with each other and they can attack you even when you dismember their bodies..

In most horror novels you find a character that is dealing with something that is much stronger than them and they’re fighting against the odds to survive. Michaelbrent Colling’s book takes it to the extreme. While reading I was constantly thinking  that there is no way that the humans can survive. There is a scene where they survivors are trapped in an elevator shaft while zombies are climbing up the walls to get them. At one point they look down from a window and see so many zombies that they can’t see the ground. There is also a scene where the zombies are climbing up a construction crane to get to their prey.

While writing this trilogy Michaelbrent must have thought to himself what is the absolute worst situation that I can put a human in? The answer to that is the Colony trilogy. I don’t think I’ve ever read a series of  books where the humans had to go through so much to survive. These characters go through hell and back, they lose hope and regain it, they fight among themselves but then have to work together to survive. The Renegades is a hardcore thriller that you can’t stop reading because you have to know how the humans will make it through.

The nonstop action in this book is what really makes it a good read but I also liked the relationship between the characters. For instance the way Ken and his wife act towards each other in the story I think is how most married couples would act in this situation. I also liked how the characters change  in the story. Despite a short period of time passing, everyone changes into a different person by the end.

It’s hard to find any bad things to say about this book. I love the way the story is told and I love the characters. True horror in a novel is watching a character you like have to survive an impossible situation and The Colony: Renegades is filled with impossible situations. My only complaint is that I felt that some of the scenes were over described and the book ends on a big cliffhanger. This didn’t bother me too much, if you made it this far in book 2 than book 3 is already a must read. Michaelbrent Collings has made one masterpiece of a zombie story.

The Colony: Genesis

18338529Giant insects on the windows, planes falling from the sky and students trying to eat each other. This is what teacher Ken Strickland has to deal with as his world falls apart in less than 10 minutes. Half the world’s population has been turned into zombies and most of the other half were bit and turned, so 99% of humans have perished. There is not much hope for Ken but he is still alive and determined to see if his family has survived.

The Colony: Genesis by Michaelbrent Collings is the beginning of a series. It’s a pretty simple premise that has been done in a lot of novels, a man sees humanity fall apart in a short period of time and he wants to find his family. This book is non stop action, it proceeds like a freight train from beginning to end and its one heck of a ride. Despite this premise done many times before, it still works. I like the simplicity in this book, I liked Ken from the beginning and even liked his students even though they were killed quickly.

What I liked most about Genesis was that the chapters were very short and each one ended with a short cliffhanger. I’ve always liked books that keep the action going and this one was no exception.

Though the action is the most important part of the story, Michaelbrent Collings also makes you care about the characters by giving little glimpses of their personalities as the action progresses. For instance there is a character named Becca in the beginning, she is not there long but we learn  that she is a know it all that is constantly looking for recognition. I love it when characters that are hardly in a book get a good description. I also liked how another character that is hardly in it gets described as intelligent but people don’t notice him because he doesn’t have an opinion. It shows that Michaelbrent cares about all the characters in a story, even the less important ones.

The zombies in this book are fast-moving zombies which is a good thing for a book which relies on  action, the swarms of insects in the story was also a nice touch. The chase scene through a collapsed building was my favorite part as Ken learns that sometime you have to trust people. Also I enjoyed how Ken keeps hearing a voice in the back of his head telling him to give up but then he thinks of how his family may be trying to escape the zombies and he has to carry on. One scene in particular has Ken deciding there is no hope anymore and then he looks at the other survivors that have joined him along his journey, he once again feels there is hope for humanity.

The only things I did not like about this book was that it seemed to take Ken forever to decided to try his cell phone and the idea of going upstairs in a collapsed building should have seemed like a bad idea to the survivors. I loved the scenes where these events happened but they seemed far-fetched. The Colony: Genesis is a good action adventure which is in the style of World War Z. Anyone who is in to books combining action and horror will love this one.

How I Started The Apocalypse

16059968Chaz Singelton woke up from the longest sleep he ever had in what looked like a hospital room and he had no idea how he got there. His body felt numb and he had the worst headache ever, but that was the least of his problems. Chaz is the world’s first smart zombie and he is part of a government experiment to create an army of super soldiers who can’t be killed.

This is the story behind Brian Pinkerton’s How I Started The Apocalypse. Chaz is trapped in a secret underground lab, he wants to escape to see his family again but there is no way out, until the government decides to shut down the experiment by killing all the zombies along with the workers in the lab.  With the need to eat human flesh and the power to destroy mankind, Chaz escapes and goes on the run to find his wife and son.

How I Started The Apocalypse is an action packed zombie thriller from the point of view of the zombie. Chaz is a multi dimensional character that you can’t help but like. Chaz never wanted to be a zombie and he tries to fight his zombie nature, he just wants his life back, but he soon realizes that his wife has moved on and he can’t fight what he is.

To make matters worse he is being stalked by Breck Palmer, the man in charge of the super soldier experiment and the one who destroyed the secret lab.  My favorite part of this book was how there was a point where you feel sorry for Chaz and his hopeless situation and you hate Breck for what he has done.  As the story progresses and Chaz has more trouble controlling himself,  he starts to become the villan while  Breck becomes the sympathetic character and the only one that can put a stop to the zombie pandemic.

I did have some issues with How I Started The Zombie Apocalypse, some of the dialoge in places seemed a little cheesey and didn’t fit certain situations. Also there was a scene where Chaz finds his wife that I didn’t care for. Without giving any of the story away I felt that what happened with their relationship was too far fetched. Though the last scene with Chaz’s wife was hilarious and left a smile on my face. Another scene I had issues with was when Chaz tries to end his zombie problem. I felt he should have known it wouldn’t work but his attempts at doing it were very funny.

How I Started The Apocalypse is an original take on the zombie genre. The book is  fast paced with a lot of humor and gore thrown in for good measure.  There are a lot of great action scenes here, and a commentary about how humans act like zombies. I liked Chaz’s escape from the secret lab and there was a scene in Yankee Stadium that was very good. One of my favorite scenes is when Chaz makes a childhood bully suffer giving him his just desserts. There was also a scene towards the end with a goth girl who wants  to turn him into be a celebrity that was very good.  Best of all I liked the way the story ended. The storyline gets wrapped up but it hints at a sequel and I would love to see where Brian Pinkerton goes next with this idea.