Thursday, 30 April 2015

Book Review: Clickers by JF Gonzalez

Click Click Click Click.

Phillipsport, Maine is a quaint and peaceful seaside village. But when hundreds of creatures pour out of the ocean and attack, its residents must take up arms to drive the beasts back. They are the Clickers, giant venomous blood-thirsty crabs from the depths of the sea. The only warning to their rampage of dismemberment and death is the terrible clicking of their claws. But these monsters aren't merely here to ravage and pillage. They are being driven onto land by fear. Something is hunting the Clickers. Something ancient and without mercy. Deadite Press is proud to present the authors' preferred version of J. F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams' gore-soaked cult classic tribute to the giant monster B-movies of yesteryear. 


My Review:
Giant half lobster half scorpion creatures are coming out of the sea to attack the population of the coastal town of Phillipsport. These creatures are fast, deadly and very hungry as they move onshore. For those who survive the initial onslaught, the worst is still to come...

The book opens with the exciting monster attack on the boats off the coast, just as the storms begin to gather. Rick, a writer on the brink of greatness, arrives in town for the winter to write his next book at a friend's house and lands in the middle of a nightmare. Now we are introduced to a series of interesting locals-Jack from the comic book store, Janice the single mother, Rusty the dumb deputy, Glen the town doctor, Lee the drugstore owner, Melissa the waitress and Roy the racist bigot sheriff who is determined to blame Rick for everything that is bad in his life. I liked the mix of characters and the way they were written. You got to care about most of them and hoped that at least some would survive to the end.

Lets look at the Clickers. I loved these guys as horror book monsters! Three feet in length, with deadly pincers AND a stinger that disolves your flesh like acid! You do not want to meet these dudes in a dark building, that's for sure! It was creepy the way the clickers appear with the rustling sound and the ominous clicking. The attack scenes were well written and full of tension, with a liberal sprinkling of gore for good measure! They are just the kind of monsters that appear in dodgy B movies but this book is much better written than that. It is a genuine monster horror book that keeps you reading it and while the clickers were munching on everyone, I was pretty happy.

I liked Roy because I hated him. He was a great bad guy from the beginning and I liked that we get to see through his eyes why he was so prejudiced to guys with long hair. His story was interesting, his actions horrific but he was so compelling. I loved the way his story was finally resolved with that bit of redemption. Nicely written!

However, I did not like it as much when The Dark Ones appeared. These are green scaly sea monsters who follow clickers to their breeding grounds to feed upon them. Suddenly, The Dark Ones come ashore and the clickers just vanish and are no longer in the story except seeing the odd one retreat from this new enemy. That was pretty disappointing. Introducing a second monster who is virtually unbeatable felt like a bit of a cheat to me. They are fast, hard to see, can't be killed by bullets and can basically just bite your head off in one go. Pretty damn difficult to have exciting fights or escapes involving these buggers. It had me thinking of those dreadful alien zombie things in Brian Keene's novels.

While there were a few good scenes with this new threat and Roy, I didn't like the direction that this took the story and it led to a literal bloodbath of most of the survivors, the ones I was rooting for and hoping to see in book two. Two of my favourites disappear in the space of a couple of lines and that was that. It left me feeling very unsatisfied with the way seven characters were dispatched in one attack spanning six pages on the ereader! It felt rushed, it felt like a bloodbath for the sake of it and for one of my favourites to die with just a scream from the distant woods after all his heroic actions, well that just left me pissed. It did in fact spoil the whole book, which is why this is 3 and not 4 star. Had they just stayed with the clickers to the end with no Dark Ones, I'd have given this a 4 star for sure.

I was still interested in Clickers 2-until I found out that the rest of the series is co-written with Brian Keene. I haven't enjoyed the books of his that I've tried especially his zombie books, so sadly I won't be reading the rest of this series.

star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Book Review: Sue Barton Student Nurse by Helen Dore Boylston



This is the story of Sue Barton's first year of training as a probationer and then as a student nurse. Sue, with her red hair and eager spirit, is a very likable person - direct, outspoken, capable of mistakes, capable also of warm attachments and a courageous devotion to the service which she soon loves. With her pals, Kit and Connie, she submits to the discipline and rigorous training which are required of every good hospital nurse. Her love of humor gets her in and out of several scrapes: she tumbles into the laundry chute; she tries to defend her fellow student from the inevitable hazing; she gets into an amusing pickle with an Italian patient who speaks no English. Her warm heart and delightful spirit make friends for her among the patients and even win the occasional approbation of the stern staff. Her femininity has more than a casual effect on Dr. Barry, the ablest of the young interns.

Sue's student years are alive with color and incident: the tests which she must pass to win her cap; the mistakes, very human in themselves, which almost ruin her career; her struggle with a delirious patient, a struggle which tries her courage to the utmost; Christmas in the hospital, when the entire staff comes together for one spontaneous celebration. Whether or not a reader has the ambition to become a nurse, she will find in this story a true picture of the training school of a great hospital and a heart warming friendship with a fun, joyous young woman.


My Review:
Sue leaves home for a new life and career as a nurse, starting three months of probation that need to be survived in order for her to make it to the rank of Student Nurse. She faces the scary Miss Cameron, angry patients and the night shifts from Hell with the help of her devoted friends Kit and Connie, and the friendship of young Dr Bill Barry.

I first read this book way back in the 80's after a long spell in hospital and I was fascinated by this story. It is set in the 1930's in an urban hospital in the USA though it feels like it is set in England. The way the characters talk had me convinced that it was English but Sue herself is from New Hampshire and Connie from Chicago...

I'm actually surprised that there haven't been more up to date series about nursing as this series was a huge best seller. I don't know the location of this fictional hospital but there is a lot of talk about slums, domestic violence and eccentric foreign patients. I doubt I could have the patience or dedication to do Sue's job!

Sue is bright, funny and kind, the sort of person that you would want as your best friend. She throws herself into her job with enthusiasm but fears that she might not have what it takes to be a good nurse, especially after a poor performance on her first spell of night shift. Connie is the rich girl who is looking for some meaning in her life and is treated coldly by the other nurses who think she is just there to pass some time until she gets bored. Kit is the outspoken one who doesn't care what others think of her. along with swotty Willie, scared Hilda and a host of other nurses, we follow their adventures through their first year.

There is good humour in the book. Sue trying to hide from an angry patient and falling down a laundry chute. Miss Cameron losing her rag with the entire class over missing equipment. Sue being chased by Tony the Greek laundryman. There were also some touching moments where Connie wins over her critics and Willie gets taken down a few pegs by Miss Cameron.   

I liked the characters and the setting. The author does a good job of describing the hospitals that I've known-draughty and cold in winter, stifling hot in summer! You feel as if you are there with the girls and experiencing the highs and lows of the nursing carreer. You don't have to be interested in nursing to enjoy these short light reads. I look forward to the rest of Sue's adventures!

star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #6

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves. Hosted by http://www.pentopaperblog.com/


This week I'm featuring book 3 in The Morgan Sisters series by the excellent Indie Author Suzy Turner. This book is out for download but I am waiting until I can get my hands on the paperback copy! Time to check Amazon again!




It's their first Christmas since entering the Praxos Academy and 16-year-old sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane Morgan are looking forward to some serious R&R. But when their little sister mysteriously disappears from her bed on Christmas Eve, all thoughts of fun disappear with her. Emma and Lana must do everything in their power to locate her and bring her home safely. Easier said than done, they are forced to go on yet another journey, this time taking them out to the murky depths of the North Sea as well as to the far reaches of southern Portugal.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Amusing Sidekicks!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! http://www.brokeandbookish.com/

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. 

This is a wildcard week so to speak so I'm choosing 'Top Ten amusing sidekicks' from series I enjoy. I like a good MC but I love a snarky animal sidekick or a wisecracking paranormal creature. So here are ten of the best.

1) DD Barant-Dying Bites: Charlie the Golem
I love Charlie. Don't call him a Golem, he prefers the term 'Mineral American'. He's tough, he's witty, he wears sharp suits and a fedora! His relationship with Jace is good and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
2) Sonya Bateman-Master of None: Ian the Djinn 
Ian is a Djinn and he is not impressed to have Gavyn, a small time crap crook as his master. Ian is sarcastic, impatient and very funny. This pair are great to follow along with other great characters to make a good urban fantasy read.
3) Laura Bickle-Embers: Sparky the Salamander 
Anya is a ghost eater and fire officer with a very cute salamander familiar called Sparky. He loves to chew on anything electrical and causes chaos in hospitals and other places where he runs riot. He is such a rascal and I love him!
4) Kevin Hearne-Hounded: Oberon the Irish Wolfhound 
Oberon is a loyal dog who can communicate with his master. He is also somewhat obsessed with sniffing butts and French poodle orgies. He is so funny and I love all the interactions with his master Atticus.
5) Christina Henry-Black Wings: Beezle the Gargoyle 
Beezle is a devoted and loyal gargoyle who happens to be very grumpy a lot of the time! He is so cute and adorable and I love his relationship with Maddy.
6) CE Murphy-Urban Shaman: Gary the senior citizen
We have a skin walker feroine and her sidekick is an unfit taxi driving senior citizen and I LOVED this! Gary is kind and funny and makes you think of your own grandad out on an urban fantasy adventure!
7) RL Naquin-Monster in my Closet: Maurice the Closet Monster
Maurice is my ideal man-he cooks banquets, he cleans, he is tough and scary, he's funny and loyal and he happens to be a Closet Monster! I love this guy so much and he is my very favourite book sidekick!  
8) Lucy A Snyder-Spellbent: Palimpsest the Ferret 
I love this ferret. He is cute, smart, funny and sarcastic and has more brains than poor Jessie! They make a really great partnership and there are lots of funny moments.
9) Jaye Wells-Red Headed Stepchild: Giguhl the Demon 
This guy is so funny! He is a demon assassin sent to kill Sabina but ends up with an addiction to the shopping channel before being turned by accident into a hairless cat! He is so funny.
10) James Todd Cochrane-Max and the Gatekeeper: Grandpa Joe 
I love Grandpa Joe! He's kickass, he guards a portal, he does magic and fights monsters! He teaches Max all about his destiny and it it is so great to see older heroes in fantasy fiction!





Monday, 27 April 2015

Reading with Chuckles #35


Welcome to Reading with Chuckles! This is where I fill you in on what I'm reading each week-what it is, where I got it or heard about it, what I think of it, if I'm continuing with it or abandoning it and any special offers I'm aware of where you can try the book yourself. Comments are welcome but no spoilers please! It's not fair to other readers!

This was a better reading week as I managed to read four whole novels! Yea! It was good to finally get up to my normal speed of reading again. Hopefully that will continue. So what did I read? I enjoyed another Tudor novel 'Brief Gaudy Hour' a novel of Anne Boleyn, and it was one of the best portayals I've read of her. I hope to get that review up this week. I moved on them to a review book that I was sent by the author. I really enjoyed 'The Sower Comes' and if you like YA fantasy, then give the Solas Beir series a try! Next up was 'Clickers' a horror tale of giant crab scorpions attacking a beach community and I liked this one too. I finished off by rereading a book I last read when I was about 13-the first of the Sue Barton nursing novels. It was still fun to read. So a pretty good week for books!


Sunday, 26 April 2015

Book Review: The Sower Comes by Melissa Eskue Ousley (Solas Beir #3)


As the new king of a world in turmoil, life for David Corbin is grim, at best.

Abby Brown, the love of his life, has vanished without a trace, and David fears the worst: that she was brutally murdered by the Daughters of Mercy, vicious creatures employed by Tynan Tierney, an evil lord vying for the throne. One of David’s best friends, Jon, has been captured by the Kruorumbrae, Tierney’s army of bogeymen, and David has no idea if he’s still alive, or how to rescue him. The powerful Eastern Oracle has pledged loyalty to Tierney’s cause, and all communication with David and the other three Oracles has ceased. Cai Terenmare is on the brink of war. And, to make matters worse, a new evil has arisen, the mysterious Sower, a monster puppeteered by Tierney himself.

On the bright side, David has his treacherous aunt locked up in his dungeon. Lucia’s not happy that her ex, Tierney, tried to kill her, and she owes David for saving her life. Lucia may have critical information about Tierney’s plans for the Sower, but after all the trouble she’s caused, can David ever trust her again?


My Review:
The book opens quickly and with a bang, showing what is happening to our heroes. David is grieving for Abby but has to focus on healing Lucia and trying to get answers from her, unsure if she can be trusted. Lucia is thinking about how trusting and loving Tierney almost led to her death and now she faces a trial which will probably end in her execution. Abby is stranded in the Wasteland and must find a way home to warn David what she has discovered about The Sower thanks to the spirit of his dead father. Jon and new cellmate Hedeon must find a way out of their prison when the city of the Eastern Oracle is about to fall. And The Sower begins to infect people with a deadly plague which leaves them as mindless feral puppets to their master.

There is a lot to like in this book! Going back to join characters that you know and love is always good and these characters are still developing. David is discovering a sense of purpose and beginning to find his feet as Solas Beir. He is connecting with his people and showing them that he can lead. It is Abby who is having a crisis, unsure if she can be his Queen and be a good example to her people, scared of being seduced to the dark side like Lucia. It was great to catch up with Cael and Eulalia as they prepare for their wedding and I loved seeing Fergal, Gorman and Brarn! It was a little disappointing not to see the Buchans and Nysa though.

The most interesting character in this book for me is Lucia. In this book we really get to understand why she turned to Tierney and killed Ardal. Lucia was expecting to be Queen but Ardal didn't like that she thought humans were expendable and this was enough to make him look to her younger sister Eulalia, as she had more empathy. Humiliated, Lucia then discovers Ardal's nasty secret and begins on the road to murder and betrayal. Ardal did something bad to try to protect his family and Kingdom and pays for it with his life, while Lucia betrays the Kingdom in an attempt to save David. Ardal and Lucia tell their story to Abby and David respectively, and I could feel sympathy for both characters, acting out of misguided love. Developing an emotional tie to Ardal and Lucia in just a few pages, sharing their tragic story so poignantly was a masterstroke by the author.

The other thing about this book that excited me was the Plague. Who doesn't love a good Plague to spread fear through the Kingdom and through the reader as we worry about our favourite characters? The Sower is spreading this disease and the slightest contact can turn you, causing panic everywhere. As the wedding draws nearer, tension is rising and bodies are being found nearby, sending Abby and Fergal into real fear. The tension at the wedding was humming through my ereader and right up my fingers as I scanned the guests looking for signs of trouble! This was a very exciting part of the book.

This book has everything that fans of the series wanted. There was action, romance, fight scenes, tension, humour and redemption. There were scenes to make you smile, scenes to make you hold your breath and scenes where you were willing things to go the way you wanted. It was not slow in any way, keeping a fast pace and giving you enough back story to add to the plot without burying you in things you don't need to hear. The story was always moving, delivered through action scenes and emotional character interaction which was beautifully written. Overall, it was an excellent piece of writing and a fitting end to the series.

I am not a fan of fantasy, especially YA fantasy but I was intrigued by the cover of the first book 'Sign of the Throne' and its blurb so I said yes to the chance to read and review a copy from the author. I have never regretted the decision to read it and I'm grateful to Melissa for providing me with advanced copies of the entire trilogy. I have already bought the first two paperbacks and look forward to grabbing this one on release day!

If you like YA fantasy or paranormal romance or even a bit of urban fantasy, then give this series a try.


star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Book Review: Blood Noir by Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake #16)


When Anita Blake takes a trip with Jason, a young werewolf who is her friend and sometimes lover, there are consequences both in Jason's small hometown and in Anita's life with Jean-Claude. As master vampire of the city, Jean-Claude has appearances to maintain, and if his lover has gone off with someone else, the other vampires are led to certain conclusions: maybe Jean-Claude is getting soft. And if Jean-Claude is vulnerable, maybe Anita - who seems to amplify the powers of any man she stays with - might be stolen away from him, by force if necessary.

My Review:
This is the last Anita Blake book that I bought in bulk way back before the series changed from urban fantasy to erotica. I was determined to read and review them all as I paid money for them, even though I didn't much like where the series was going. Now that I'm at the end of the books, it is sad in a way. I like quite a few characters and would like to find out where their stories lead but frankly, erotica bores me and I can't justify skipping huge sections of a book to get to the bits I like. So unless I get them for nothing, the adventure ends here for me!

OK on with the story. Jason is a character that I've always loved and during the time that Anita was torn between Jean Claude and Richard, I was hoping that she might end up with Jason as he is a good match for her. Of course it was not going to happen when both of these rivals have control over Jason, but it was a nice thought! Anyway, Jason and his possesive girlfriend have split up because of her jealousy over his ties to Anita, Asher and Jean Claude. Jason's abusive father is dying and he feels he must go and see him, and Anita agrees to go with him to pose as his girlfriend, to prove to his father that he isn't gay. As usual Anita is full of insecurities about being alone with Jason and what their relationship actually is. Jason hits town at the same time as a rich playboy who looks like him, leading to a lot of mistaken identity and angst as Jason tries to confront his father.

It was good to get Jason as the star of a book though having Anita having one of her hissy fits over what Jason means to her made me roll my eyes. Does she have to have these issues in every conversation about sex? I mean you think she'd be dealing with it by now with all the sex she's had but she is still as uptight as she was in book one! The mistaken identity storyline did get a bit annoying for me in places but it was a nice change to have Anita on the road with someone more interesting than Micah. Jason's parent issues show a more serious and vulnerable side to him which I liked and it explains how he ended up with Jean Claude. The other interesting development was the idea that Anita can eat rage as well as lust, taking all that anger from Richard which had made him such a dick through most of the series.

However one thing I fault LKH on constantly in these books is repetition and Marmee Noir is a prime example. She invades Anita's mind, messes with it and Anita needs rescue. This is just so damn boring when you are seeing it for the umpteenth time in nearly every damn book in the series. It never changes, it never becomes interesting and it always causes the same reactions in Anita. Seriously boring by book 16! What is the POINT of this stupid Mother Darkness crap? The whining and fighting that we always see with Anita and whoever she is fighting with this time is just the same as always. Richard has the same hissy fit he's been having since book 6. Anita has been having the same anxieties about sex since we met her. Why does this drive me so crazy? 
Because there is so much that you can DO with these characters except sex and complaining! New adventures, new bad guys who aren't visiting Jean Claude just to try and overthrow him, Anita actually doing a days work in those interesting jobs she has! There has been little character development in those like Richard since book 6 when he embraced his beast. The few good characters who have developed have all become complete tossers like Dolph and Ronnie. The characters are not growing and evolving. The plot is not moving on. The whole thing is just stuck in a never ending rut and needs a giant kick up the arse to get it moving again. Stagnated plots and characters have killed a series that still has the potential to go somewhere.

But I believe that is it for me. I can't hang in there any longer hoping for change as the only changes we ever see is a new lover as dull as the last new lover, a new decibel level for Anita to reach during sex and the same angst and fights dressed up as 'new' problems. I'm done. Goodbye Anita-it was fun for a short time at least.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

Stacking the Shelves #81


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress so you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!
 
Welcome to another week on my blog! We took advantage of the weather and went on another day trip somewhere new. We made the journey up the famous Rest and Be Thankful road, stopping off around Loch Fyne and going to the town of Inveraray. There was seriously beautiful scenery on this trip, the sun was out and it was pretty warm! Managed to grab a very tasty bacon roll from a burger van as we sat at the car park on Rest and Be Thankful. Nice! My little monkey Pedro, with his new T-Shirt, also enjoyed the day!
 
The first photo is from the car park at Rest and Be Thankful, looking down the valley. The photo doesn't really do the view justice.
 
 
This is the gorgeous Inveraray Castle! 
 
 
A view across Loch Fyne
 
 
The famous tourist attraction of Inveraray Jail!
 
 
Inveraray and Loch Fyne
 
 
Rest and Be Thankful Road
 
 
So now on to the book side of things! I was pretty excited to get my hands on an ARC of 'The Sower Comes', book three in the Solas Beir trilogy which is out in July. Thanks for sending me a review copy Melissa! Guys, if you want a good fantasy series, give Solas Beir a try. I am not a fantasy fan but I really enjoyed it! Book three was really great and an excellent finish to the series!
 
READ AND REVIEW:
 
 
 
I've been reading a few Tudor books over the last few weeks which got me in the mood to go hunting Amazon for new Tudor authors to try. Yes, I do admit I am bad and have no restraint but I just DON'T CARE! I LOVE buying books and I'm going to do it, so there! Ahem. Yes restraint has gone out of the window and I'm binge buying...I think I might have to save some of my purchases for next week's post!
 
DOWNLOADS:
 
 
 
 
 
OK, I grabbed another couple of Kelley Armstrong books-'Forsaken', which I have already read and enjoyed, and the graphic novel 'Bounty Hunt' which I'm really looking forward to! I also managed to snag a bit of Tudor paperback fun as well...
 
BOUGHT PAPERBACKS:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #5

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves. Hosted by http://www.pentopaperblog.com/

I've been reading Tudor books recently to try and clear a few from my shelf which have been sitting there for years! So it seems fitting that I choose a Tudor book for my wishlist pick. I only found out about this book a few days ago and I WANT it! Anne is a character who has appeared in a few books to cause trouble so for her to star in her own book...YEA! 


May, 1536. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.

When Anne Boleyn falls to the executioner's axe on a cold spring morning, yet another Anne vows she will survive in the snakepit court of Henry VIII. But at what cost?

Lady Anne Seymour knows her family hangs by a thread. If her sister-in-law Jane Seymour cannot give the King a son, she will be executed or set aside, and her family with her. Anne throws herself into the deadly and intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined at any price to see the new queen's marriage a success and the Seymour family elevated to supreme power. But Anne's machinations will earn her a reputation as a viper, and she must decide if her family's rise is worth the loss of her own soul . . .