High Expectations

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

“Our hero, cognisant of the dangers, begins…”

“What?”

“I’m narrating. This task shall be my last.”

“You’re being dramatic.”

“I’m certain. I shall die today.”

“You’re changing a light-bulb.”

“You know I hate heights.”

“I know you’re a big baby.”

“You’re supposed to do this. That was the agreement: you do heights and I do spiders.”

“Seriously?”

“I’m sure it was in the vows…”

“I’m eight-months pregnant. You wouldn’t send a woman in my condition up a six-foot ladder would you?”

“Maybe…?”

“No.”

“What if I brought in a spider?”

“What if I shook this ladder?”

“Our hero ascends…”


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All aboard the Spamwagon

photo credit: spamwagon via photopin (license)

photo credit: spamwagon via photopin (license)

Spam.

If you spend any time on this consumer of attention we call the internet you will have seen it; a slurry of loosely connected words and a convenient hyper-link to assist you in donating your money and identity to some criminal with no ethics and a wifi connection.

If you have a WordPress account, most of these are blocked, with the occasional junk comment caught like a fly in amber in the Spam Queue. While undertaking a regular cleanse of this electronic roadkill, I encountered a spectacular example that I will share with you today.

It is far too long to read all the way – indeed I recommend against it. Click it, scroll through to get an impression, then look away quickly lest you be lost within its glory. Seriously, its nearly 3000 words long, check it out, giggle, then click away and get on with your life.

Cheers all.

KT Continue reading

Looking for Love(craft) in all the wrong places

PHOTO PROMPT – © Marie Gail Stratford

 

Lolthario82: hey grrrl a/s/l?

DAGON: WHAT LANGUAGE IS THIS?

Lolthario82: lol u new? age/sex/location?

DAGON: AGELESS IMMORTAL UNDYING. ALL GENDERS AND NONE MOTHER AND FATHER OF CHAOS. I EXIST OUTSIDE OF YOUR FOUR DIMENSIONS AND WITHIN EACH TORMENTED SOUL.

Lolthario82: lol. y no profile pic?

DAGON: MY IMAGE IS GRAVEN ON LUNACY-SOAKED STONES WORSHIPPED BY PAGAN BLOOD-CULTS.

Lolthario82: Mystery grl lol. So…dtf?

DAGON: EXPLAIN.

Lolthario82: are you Down To F**K?

DAGON: I AM DOWN FURTHER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.

Lolthario82: sweet – ur place or mine?

DAGON: YOU MUST COME TO ME. I AM CONFINED BY ETERNAL CURSES OF THE ELDER.

Lolthario82: lol, my parents are mad strict too.

Lolthario82: c u soon.

DAGON:

DAGON: YES.

DAGON: 

DAGON: SOON.

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Book Review: Take On Me by Minerva Zimmerman

Take On me – 4 Out Of 5 Stars

Note – this is a review of an eARC, provided to me for no-charge by the publisher Fireside Fiction Company. Fireside contacted me asking if I was interested in providing an honest review.

Synopsis

Alex is a centuries old vampire, trying to live his unlife peacefully while interning at a nearby hospital. Hannah is a troubled young woman with unusual strength, pushed to her emotional limit by the actions of her supernaturally manipulative brother Zac. Unable to see a way free of her brother’s influence, Hannah attempts suicide – in Alex’s shower. Finding her near death, Alex chooses to turn her into a vampire rather than let her die.

This act and the friendship they then form sets them on an unusual course, as Zac drags Hannah towards a powerful underworld figure and an old friend pulls Alex into dealing with some serious vampire business. Hannah and Alex’s worlds collide in a tense and exciting showdown.

Review

So….

Vampires.

Oh yeah. Vampires. Is there any other subject that has been so exhaustively exhumed and examined? Any chest left unstaked? Any neck yet unbitten? I confess I felt a twinge of unease when I read the blurb, a moment of questioning. Vampires have been done to death (undeath?), even when the vampires are different (aren’t they all) you run the risk of further flogging the expired equus. But that said, I don’t mind a story built on a well used trope (I’m pretty sure I’ve said so before) provided the story is good.

This story was good.

It didn’t take much reading before I was breathing a sigh of relief. I had worried for nothing. My twinge was just that – a twinge. What I appreciated here was the fact that we aren’t treated to a lengthy discussion on vampiric society, or how these vampires differ from others – we get the basics (they’re immortal, they drink blood or blood substitutes, they can walk about in the day etc), but then the book gets on with the story. It does this by staying pretty tightly focused on the main characters, and their specific issues, challenges and opponents. That said, you still get the feeling of depth, of a much bigger supernatural world out there – more vampires, more powered individuals like Hannah and Zac – which I suspect we will see in books two and three of the trilogy.

Zimmerman’s writing style is like many recently released books I’ve read – straightforward, lighthearted, conversational – which means it is very easy and quick to read. Action and dramatic scenes are well done and I particularly thought that the dialogue was a strong point; it was interesting; it moved the story forward, and there was a subtle and clever humour injected throughout that I found engaging. Also, high marks in any book set in the 80’s that references Tang. Tang was awesome.

I thought the author really nailed the relationships between main characters – particularly the contrasts between Hannah’s relationships with the two men in her life; the complicated exploitative relationship with her brother Zac, and the unconditionally supportive nature of her brand new friendship with Alex. The Hannah and Alex combination is great, but the scenes with Zac and Hannah are show-stealers; tense, complex, challenging.

I did feel that the book suffered from a few pacing issues. I found the build-up slow and a little flat in places, and the climax seemed a little short and simple for where I thought the book was going. I think the book also went on too long after the big action end point and maybe it could have been closed off a bit sooner rather than watching the character’s lick their wounds and regroup. I suspect these issues stem from the fact this is the first book in a trilogy. I got the sense this was more Act I of a larger piece and less self contained than it could have been.

A more serious criticism I have is the somewhat shallow treatment of the suicide attempt. Hannah is at the end of her tether, and attempts to kill herself. Not a cry for help, this was a real try at death by a desperate person who saw no other way of being free of her brother’s power. (Trigger warning – the following extract covers the suicide attempt).

Screw this. She wasn’t going to go to sleep and then wake up hungover and in worse shape than she started. She pinballed her way into the bathroom and retrieved the scalpel. This ends now, one way or another.

She climbed into the bathtub and tentatively touched the blade to her thumb. It cut into her flesh easily. Why was it that people cut their wrists in bathtubs anyway? She put the scalpel midway up her left forearm and applied pressure until the blade sank into her flesh. It didn’t hurt at first, then in burned. She fisted the handle and dragged it down towards her wrist until it hit bone.

“Fuck,” she gasped. Oh god it hurt.

Take On Me – Minerva Zimmerman

When she is mystically resurrected, she seems to adapt very quickly and then gets on with things. I would have liked something addressing this issue a little more – what Hannah saw as her only hope (death) has now been taken from her, potentially forever. Maybe this would have been inconsistent with the generally lighter more humorous tone of the book, but in my opinion what should have been a powerful and provoking personal conflict was left…undercooked.

My disappointment at this was then mostly redeemed by a flashback scene with Alex. I’m not an emotional person, but the scene with Alex and Jess…well I’m not going to spoil it, but that hit me right in the parental feels. This means Take On Me joins two other books that have made me misty-eyed in recent memory*.

So, in summary: I liked the characters, I liked the premise, I enjoyed the story, and I will certainly buy book two when it comes out**.


Take On Me is released in October 2015, and can be ordered here from Fireside Fiction. Once you have a chance to read it, drop me a line on this blog and let me know whether you agree or disagree.

Cheers

KT

*The Road and The Narrow Road to the Deep North

**By this I mean I will actually purchase it – I wont seek an eARC for book two. Where I get a free book and I enjoy it, I generally try to spend money on something else the author has written – for example, I’ve picked up The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart (I got Revision free) and have Aimee and the Bear (I got Psychic Spiders free) on the list to buy next year.

Book review: Psychic Spiders – Toby Stone

“Look, George,” said Bob. “You’re all grown up now. We’re both spiders of the world. Your Uncle Bob, well… I have needs, like any other spider. It’s been a while since I’ve had some, if you know what I mean.”

“Some what?”

“Female action,” said Uncle Bob.

George gritted his fangs. The leer on Bob’s lips reminded him of the funnel web. “Uh-hmm,” he said.

“I just need something to get me through.” Bob gestured to the screen.

“Get you through what?” George said.

“You know…. something to get me through.”

George stared. His eight eyes snapped wide.

“You shouted me up here… you… you want pictures of female spiders who open their legs for anyone?” sputtered George. There was venom in his words. Being a spider, there always was, but it rarely made the air.

Psychic Spiders – Toby Stone.

 

 

Yet another book that is exactly what it says on the box. It’s full of spiders.

Psychic spiders.

And it is excellent.

Quick confession time – I got this book months ago (free), laughed at the cover (above), put it on the bookshelf and promptly forgot about it…

…italics to indicate the passage of time…

…until July came around, and I realised I really should have read it by now. So I knuckled down, read it, and found that yet again an indie publisher has come through with the goods. This is a great book; funny in much of it, sad in parts, a bit disturbing throughout, whilst still bringing a tense sense of action. There are moments that shine brilliantly, and others that shoot for the stars – and miss – but mostly it’s just really entertaining.

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Book Review: Motherfucking Sharks – Brian Allen Carr

Great whites and makos and tigers and bonnets and lemons and nurses and threshers and blacknose and blacktips and spinners and bull sharks and duskys and finetooths and smalltails and silkies and dogfish and hammerheads, sharpnose, and browns. All circling, circling, circling their death-patterned courses, pushing the mass of horror-stricken humans deeper into their clump of false-security safety-in-numbers, huddling together with their backs to the murderous fish that had somehow stripped away order from the universe and learned to navigate against the laws of the physical world.

Have you ever seen a thing the first time and known its name?

These were the motherfucking sharks.

This book is…

Insane?

Crazy?

Motherfucking nuts?

… really quite unusual.

Oh. I probably should’ve put a language warning on this somewhere…

Motherfucking Sharks: 4 out of 5 stars

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Without ‘me’, its just ‘diocre’

Majestic as f-ck

A super-quick post to let my large number of devoted reader (thanks mum) know that I have revamped my ‘About’ page (and to a far lesser degree my Bibliophagy page).

  1. Bibliophagy has two new ‘tag links’ right at the top, which will take you books I have reviewed and rated either 4 stars or 5 stars.
  2. About, now called Actually, it is all about me (because I’m as witty AF) now has more useful details about the blog (what it’s about, where to find things), some more tag links, and another picture of me (you’re welcome).

A waste of a perfectly good lunch time? Maybe. But if anyone does click through and check it out, I’d be very interested to read what you think.

Thanks, as always.

KT