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Review: Dark Light by Carl Hose

Title: Dark Light
Author: Carl Hose
Series: Standalone
Genre: Horror
Format: E-book
Source:  Online Innovative Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
I received this novel free of charge from OIBT in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every year round. Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down. Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel. Dark Light is published by MARLvision Publishing and edited by Carl Hose.

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Random: So many stories to choose from, so little to describe them all.

It is a great collection of horror short stories. Some are psychological horror, dystopias, ghosts, murder, whatever terrifies a reader, there is a story for that. There is also a variety of writing styles. There are diary entries, first person narrative, the rare second person point of view, and the third person point of view. With 42 short stories to read, I only have time to showcase a few of them.

“A Sight for Sore Eyes” by Deborah LeBlanc. I like this one because it threw me off balance. I was sure that I knew what was happening but the ending, damn, was I wrong. That is fantastic that it could maintain the suspense at a high level.

“ Death Comes Calling” by Randy Chandler. One of my favorite stories because it remind of “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson. A dead man, Reggie, is having a debate with the personification of Death and it is an interesting conversation. Death is an intriguing character. It slows down a little in the middle with Reggie and his wife conversing but when Reggie meets a man with AIDS, the story becomes as interesting as the conversation with Death. Even though it has a slow part in the middle, it is still a very good short story that tugs at the heart.

“ After the Fall” by Paul Fry. Not my favorite story but one that I read through. It is a diary entry style story. The main character is less than compelling and he is a bastard. He is out there raping and killing women after a nuclear disaster. Hopefully, he earns what he deserves. It is pretty gruesome story because it just lacks empathy. It is a well-written story but it just not a story that is going to bring positive emotions to a reader.

“The Long Wait”  by Christopher Shearer. I’m showcasing this one because of a very specific scene with a little girl. Children in horror movies and stories tend to a be a little creepy. Sorry, it is true; just remember The Innocents (1961). I love the first film scene where she is asking for donations and she just pulls a creepy stunt. Perfect horror. The overall story is sad though.

5 BB- Total Keeper

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54th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book

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Review: Dead Tropics by Sue Edge

Title: Dead Tropics
Author: Sue Edge
Series: Standalone
Genre: Horror
Format: E-book
Source:  Innovative Online Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
I received this novel free of charge from the Innovative Online Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
IN THE MIDST OF A CATASTROPHE LIKE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN, ONE WOMAN WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO PROTECT HER FAMILY.

Lori Nelson has always seen herself as an ordinary woman, doing the best she can to juggle family and her work as a nurse. But the most dangerous creature in nature is the mother whose offspring is threatened?

When miners release an ancient virus Lori is at ground zero of the deadly battle for survival. With the help of a laconic ex-soldier, can Lori find the strength to fight the spreading threat and save her family?

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Random: It is as entertaining as a zombie movie.

BEST ZOMBIE BOOK that I have read so far. It is fantastic and it kept me intrigued the entire length of the novel. In terms of zombie books with a high level of action, it is going to hard for other zombie books to surpass this book.

Lori is a great protagonist. She is fiercely independent and a willing fighter. She takes on the zombies in order to rescue children from the children’s ward in the hospital and in order to save her sister’s neighbors. Lori is really courageous but Edge allows the readers to know that Lori has a vulnerable side. Lori is afraid of what is going on around her but she has a need to try to help others that tends to over-ride her fear.

One of the great things about this novel is the inclusion of children as survivors. Most books and movies only have adult as survivors. Edge has included about five small children and two teenagers in the book. It shows a different perspective of what a zombie apocalypse would  be like if the adults had to worry about their children. It adds to the story because finding and protecting the children are added as obstacles that need to be overcome but also make the adults vulnerable and human. It is the children that bring down Lori’s survival character to realistic level. She is mother trying to protect her children and that is why she is willing to fight zombies.

The action is non-stop which might be the best feature of the novel. Lori is swimming with crocodiles to evade the zombies, crawling under cars, running over cars, and stealing cars. It is really exciting to read the action scenes because they have enough to details to create a movie in your head. The supporting cast also have their action scenes. The action never really stops and certain event will surprise the reader. I wasn’t expecting the final boat scene but it is one of the best one in the books. It’s not due to the action but the suspense surrounding it.

The only negative thing I could say is that I’m not entirely sure how the virus originated. Did the miners released something or did they not? I have to be honest, I really do not care because the book was highly entertaining that it made me forget to question the origin of the virus. In fact, I’m going to let it slide and not deduct a half butterfly (which is what I should do but won’t) because Lori’s journey is fascinating and heartbreaking at times.

Dead Tropics is a five butterfly. Non-stop action, a compelling heroine and children as survivors make it a fantastic book.

5 BB- Total Keeper

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47th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Zombies, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Men in Uniform, Where Are You Reading?-Australia

Review: Death Note Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugimi Ohba

Title: Death Note Vol. 1: Boredom
Author: Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata
Series: Death Note Vol. 1
Genre: Manga
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal Purchase
Pub. Year: 2005
Purchase: Amz/B&N/TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and bored out of his mind! But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, and notebook dropped by a rougue shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal… or his life?

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I love the Death Note anime so I had to read the manga that inspired it. I have to say, the anime stuck fairly close to the first volume of the manga.

Light Yagami finds a death note and starts using it to kill criminals of the world. He believes the world is “rotten place” so why not clean it up by getting rid of people who are guilty of committing crimes. His logic makes sense (at least it did to me). It also makes sense that he would do start killing people. His father is the commissioner of the NPA which is similar to the FBI so he is knowledgeable of the criminal system and how faulty it can be at times. In Light’s mind, he is not doing anything wrong; rather he is fighting for justice.

Light is an intelligent teenager. It shows in how gains access to his father’s computer, hence, why he knows the privileged information that only the NPA knows. He changes his tactics (not the method of killing) in order to get L to suspect the NPA of leaking information and L falls for it. Light goes out of his way to create a safe place for the death note. He creates a safe that will light up on fire if anyone tries to force their way in. He is calculating in how he outsmarts Raye in order to obtain his name because a name and a face are necessary to kill someone. If you don’t have one or the other, that person will not die. This fact was proven when L confronted Kira in the televised event.

The manga is fast paced. I think it cover about 4 episodes of the anime in one volume. Light wants the world to know that there is someone out there judging people for their crimes so he just kills people by heart attacks. The heart attacks become his signature move. The world ends up calling him “Kira” which is “killer” (that is not translation, Kira doesn’t mean killer, it just sounds like killer). Kira ends up confronting “L”, the world greatest detective who figures out Kira in Japan by broadcasting specific television events. It’s intense in the anime and in the manga (even if I knew what was coming). Raye Penber of the FBI is also introduced in the manga. Kira plants the seed of suspicion between the NPA and L so L has the FBI investigate the families of the officers.

Let’s talk art style because when it comes to manga, art is crucial. It was so strange to see Light as innocent face teenager when he first started using the death note. (In my head, he is always appears as he did in the final episode of the anime; manic and egoistical). I didn’t really care for the art. It wasn’t as dark as I expected it to be considering the subject matter. It was fairly light and soft except when it came to Ryuk, he was drawn with hard edges. It was still pretty good in bringing detail in to the pages. I like the fact that the rules of the death note are used as dividers between chapters. The basic rule is that a person whose name is written down will die of a heart attack in 40 seconds.

5 butterflies it receives from me. The concept if fantastic, the ideas spouted by Light and L make sense, and the storyline is pretty great.

5 BB- Total Keeper

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26 in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a Series, M/G/V Challenge, Serial Killer, TV Addict,

Review: Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Black

Anna Dressed in BloodTitle: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna Dressed in Blood # 1
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Public library
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amazon/ B & N/

Blurb from Amazon:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.

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What I will remember: The tragedy of a life cut too short.

OMG, Anna Dressed in Blood blew my mind away. It was such a fantastic read that I was nearly late to class because I did not, did not want to stop reading. I have no idea on how to do a review on a book that I’m still super giddy about.

Let’s talk about Anna. What a fantastic ghost. Very tragic as well. Blake did an excellent job in describing Anna, her clothing, and the physical changes that Anna goes through which turned Anna into a very concrete character. There was a depth to Anna that is rare in a ghost. She knew what she had done, accepted it, was remorseful and was very much alive in her character.  Her origin story is just emotionally gripping; it’s a cringe-worthy moment. You want to turn away but at the same time, you can’t. Amazing storytelling by Blake.

Cassius Lowood is the male narrator of this book. It’s was odd and new to read a book from a male perspective. I usually read from the female mind. With that mind, Cassius was less focused on the romantic aspect of what was going with Anna. He was aware that he was treating Anna differently but at the same time, he didn’t want to acknowledge why until much later in the book. A female protagonist would have immediately acknowledge the connection and be dominate by the connection. It was interesting to have Cas as the lead character. He was a decent guy who reminded me of Dean Winchester of Supernatural. Dean is more of a badass than Sam, in my book, but I like both of them.

The plot was entertaining and the minor characters were interesting. Cas is driven to do his job by a sense of loyalty to his father and in his quest to avenge his father’s death. The creature that killed his father is terrifying in appearance and in power. Thomas as a male witch was a lovable nerd with a crush on the Queen Bee, Carmel, who proved she was more than a pretty face.

I know I only talked about the two main character, Anna and Cas, but it really was a fantastic read. The writing was exceptional and pulls the reader in. I can’t wait for the second book.

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5 BB- Total Keeper

6th book in the 150+ Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in A Series, Cupcake Challenge
Where are you reading?-Ontario, Canada

Reviews: Dark Shadows by D.J Arneson

Title: Dark Shadows: The Original Series Story Digest Interrupted Voyage
Author: D.J. Arneson
Illustrated by: Joe Carta
Series: Standalone
Genre:  Supernatural, Horror
Source: Netgalley
Format: Galley
Pub. Year: Feb. 15, 2012
Purchase: B&N /Amazon
I received this book free of charge from Netgalley in return for an honest opinion.

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What I will remember: A great mix of supernatural creatures.

I had to get this book from Netgalley, it’s Dark Shadows. It was a gothic drama on daytime TV in the late 60’s -70’s and again in the late-90’s. If that doesn’t captivate someone, Johnny Depp is playing Barnabas in the new Dark Shadows film by Tim Burton. My favorite combination, Depp and Burton.

Dark Shadows

Barnabas and Quentin

I absolutely love the artwork that accompanies the book. The art has an old feel to it which I love. It has very dark tones and shades. The best part is that it accompanies the storyline so the pictures capture moments in the story. Plus, all the characters are drawn there so there is no need for a physical description of them. It may have to do with the fact the story was written while Dark Shadows was on TV. I wished I knew what the art style was called so I could better explain it.

Story wise, I love it. It is a gothic tale through and through. We have Annabelle as the ghost, Barnabas as the vampire turned human, Angelique as the evil sister of Annabelle, and Calandra the witch. Oh, and Michael the zombie as well. The setting also contributes to the gothic feeling. It is a shore city where the inhabitants don’t trust strangers and are into burning at the stake. Plus, it is a tragic love story where the lovers (Annabelle and Michael)  are both dead and are trying to reunite with each other in the afterlife. A very lovely story.

The bonus features at the end is something that I really enjoyed. It mainly consists of the photographs of the original Dark Shadows with Jonathan Frid as Barnabas.  Some photos are of the cast posing for pictures and a few screenshots. Most are in black and white but some are in color.

Final thoughts on Dark Shadows, it is awesome. The artwork reminds me of the style use in comic books. It has an eclectic mix of supernatural creatures and somehow it makes sense for a witch to control a zombie. It is a gothic tale. Plus, Johnny Depp is going to be in the film adaptation and so is Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix from Harry Potter and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd) but more important, Tim Burton is directing it. I totally have to see this film. The only thing that would make this film even more exciting would be having Alan Rickman in it. Oh, I love him.  Hmm, getting off topic. Um, this is a five for me because I’m a huge fan of Dark Shadows and the movie has me pretty hype up.

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5 BB- Total Keeper

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows Photo Promo (from Teaser Trailer)