Monday, May 28, 2012

Widowmaker: A Thriller for Horror Buffs

Well, it's almost time for summer and to some of us here that just means... summer blockbuster horror flicks.

Yay. It's about time.

So if you're ready for a good scare but it's not quite hot enough where you live to seek out the cool dank atmosphere of a movie theatre, here's a great place to start: Widowmaker: A Thriller for Horror Buffs by Carolyn McCray and Elena Gray. This was a great fun read that starts with an idea that's been around before - a movie that can kill - but then twists itself into something altogether original and entertaining. Here's the story blurb from Amazon...

Terror in the Trees, the latest uber-low budget slasher flick is slaying people... literally. But is it all hype or is there an evil force behind the supposed deaths? Special Agent Bolder had best find out before the President attends the Hollywood premiere...

The blurb really doesn't do the story justice. There's just so much more to it. It has all the elements of a campy horror movie mixed with well developed believable characters, humour, nail biting suspense, conspiracy and a completely unpredictable ending. The story wasn't the only part of the novel with such a surprise ending either; the endings for several characters were highly creative (and of course, sometimes rather gory). But getting back to the ending - wow. I really couldn't have predicted that one.

When it comes to horror suspense novels, there's very little to complain about in this one. I recommend it. Particularly if you're a horror movie fan looking for something a little unexpected. The pace is fast. The characters are fun (Mitchell was my favorite). A lot of characters die, including some of the more appealing ones. But yes, I will admit that the Baxter brothers are kind of two dimensional as far as characters go - it just makes them fit the story better.

I first read this novel back in January and the copy I had was an earlier version that had formatting issues on my reader. In places it was difficult to read. I am happy to say that this updated linked version doesn't share those issues. It's a very good deal at its current price of $0.99 on Amazon, but I would pay more and feel it was money well spent. Five stars.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Reading List - Add Your Favs

It's the last day of a long weekend up here and an incredibly beautiful day - a very rare animal. It's the kind of day that reassures you summer isn't just another long lost dream. (Yes, that really  can happen in this northern climate).

Time to plan some weekend getaways and memorable vacations. Here's one thing you don't want to forget as you get caught up in all those hectic preparations.

Reading material.

There's always down time on your getaway, possibly even while in transit, so don't forget to load up on some favorite reads. I'm putting together a quick list here of some of my favorites- e-books that were great reads and worth the cover price. I didn't feel ripped off when I bought them (or I wouldn't have for the ones I read for free). The first group of recommended reads are all from "indie" authors. The reason is simple: price. It's tough to find an e-book from traditional bestsellers that won't make me mad about the price. So here are the categories: Thrillers and Young Adult.

Recommended Thrillers (Good fast reads, Cheap up to $2.99)

(Row One legal, historical/techno, horror/serial killer, adventure)
(Row Two: zombie-ish horror romance series - 4 quick reads)

Recommended Young Adult Reads (Good and Cheap)

(Row One: Drama YA, Historical Adventure YA,Para/Historical YA all $0.99 to $1.99)

These are just a few of my favorites, so why not add yours to the list and help spread the recommendations? Leave a comment with a link to your favorite e-read and I'll post it here. And if you haven't already read some of these, it's great time to load up your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, i-device or other reader. Happy summer reading everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Flight of the Griffin - A MG/YA Fantasy Adventure

The Flight of the GriffinThe Flight of the Griffin by C.M. Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a little divided between giving this one a four or five star rating. So I've settled for four and one half. The Flight of the Griffin is a fun fantasy adventure perfect for the middle grade reader. It has likeable young characters, a dastardly villain with his hired hunter/henchman, the struggle between the powers of good and evil (the 'Source' and 'Chaos'), and plenty of magic. It was well paced and contained great little details like including images of the poetic magic book that sets the young heroes on their quest of 'challenges.'

The story follows four boys who fall into a quest that involves finding three very important items necessary to accomplish a spell that will restore the balance of power between the Source and Chaos. To begin their adventure, the boys are transformed into a fighter, a thief, a priest, and a magician. Accompanied by an unusual shape shifting girl, the boys encounter many obstacles and dangerous situations along the way.

I really liked the story and think it would probably appeal to readers who enjoyed Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series and maybe some of the early Robert Jordan Wheel of Time novels. I think it could have used a few more dire situations and little more suspense to keep the reader truly glued to the story, but I think it was very well done.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Seeing RedSeeing Red by Anne Louise Macdonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really a very good read for teens who prefer more slice of life action than the trendier paranormal fantasy series we're seeing everywhere now. With great writing and believable characters, its well worth another look. The story is set in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and filled with enough local quirkiness to pull the reader in and make them feel almost like they've been there. The writing was what held me to the story, reminding me a little of some of the Neal Shusterman novels I've read. I'd recommend it as an early young adult novel, great for readers who enjoy something off the pop fiction beaten path.

View all my reviews


Friday, May 11, 2012

Whispering Hills - YA Chills

Whispering Hills (Whispering Hills, #1)Whispering Hills by Taryn Browning
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a good quick read with some very enjoyable characters. I'm giving it 4.5 stars but yes, over where you see them, the rating translates into five. I'm old school, so hey, it's rounding.

This story had an excellent start and hooked me early. Here's my synopsis:

Alexis is a high school senior who can hear the thoughts of others. Not just any thoughts mind you - she only hears the decisive ones. So when the thoughts of a killer are voiced in the girl's mind, Alexis panics. She's powerless to stop the murderer. With only her sister aware of her freakish thought hearing ability, who would believe her? Alexis doesn't know how to even find the victim, let alone the killer.

Enter Chance. He is a mysterious new student with an attraction to Alexis. He knows a lot more than he lets on and has his own dark secrets. Can Alexis trust him? Before she does, she enlists the help of another new -yet unwilling- friend, Summer. That's when Alexis discovers that she isn't the only one with freakish abilities. Strange qualities aside, the three new friends share more than just being unusual. They have a link to each others' past. And for two of them, it's a dangerous bond they share with the killer.

It was a good fast paced story, and of course, it doesn't really end. It's sure to be a series. What I think I liked the most about the novel was the set of other characters - Summer, Tiffany, and even Gabriel. They were far more entertaining than the main couple. Kudos to the author - she did a wonderful job of creating a very chilling dead villain. I found the romance to be a little too typical of the genre, but all in all I'd recommend it. It was a very good read.

View all my reviews

Whispering Hills (Whispering Hills, #1)">

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another Chance for Free and Cheap E-books

Once again here's a chance at free - and cheap - E-books. First up - Free E-books this week:

If you miss it  - there's still a chance to pick up some great cheap reads: