Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review: Outbreak by Eric S Brown

In Bigfoot War II, the dead rose. The war between man and beast became a battle for survival. Hordes of zombies attacked both humanity and Sasquatch alike. Bigfoot War: Outbreak returns to that time period in the Bigfoot War saga and tells the story of what occured in Asheville, North Carolina as the events of Bigfoot War II: Dead in the Woods unfolded. Prepare yourself for a wildly different kind of zombie apocalypse.

My Review:
This book looks at the events unfolding in the town of Asheville as other towns fall to the Sasquatches and the dead. Pat has finally got the publishing deal that he has been working towards for years and is enjoying the chance to brag about it on social media when he is distracted by the arrival of the undead at his home. Zack has survived Babble Creek and is the hospital in Asheville with a federal agent guarding him, watching the town of Franklin fall to the undead live on TV. Now his only thought is to escape the hospital and the area.

Brook and Paul are supposed to be having a date night but she is left alone when Paul has to stay at the police station because of weird calls coming in. At first Brook thinks the traffic congestion is normal until she sees the screaming people running from an angry Sasquatch. Paul is now manning a police barricade as a stream of the dead are heading his way. Now he has to stay alive and locate his wife and child who are in different locations.

This was a look at a different town in the area and the carnage caused by the dead and the hairy beast army. These are short but gory entertaining reads. 

Read April 2017 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Game of Thrones Gossip #18 Season One Deaths

Welcome to my Game of Thrones Gossip, where all of us fanatics get the chance to discuss everything we love about this amazing TV series. I did a few spoiler free posts about the series last year but I found that there were other bloggers out there who were also itching to talk more freely about favourite characters and events without spoiling things for those visiting the blog. So I decided to do a whole series of these discussion posts that let us say everything we want and enjoy every second of it! The topics may talk about a death, an event, a character or be season reviews and so on. Please feel free to comment fully and without restriction!

I have to warn you that it is important that you have seen all six seasons before reading any of these posts because these posts and blogger comments will be oozing and exploding spoilers all over the place. If you haven't watched the series and plan to, be warned that it's a bad idea to be here right now! I take no responsibility if you read on and things are spoiled for you nor do I take responsibility for any mistakes on the pages I link you to.

This week I'm looking at the deaths of season one and there were plenty! These deaths below were the most significant in the series.

The first major death takes place off screen with the murder of Jon Arryn, Hand of the King and father figure to King Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark. He was one of the leaders of Robert's Rebellion and married Lysa Tully, sister of Catelyn Stark, living at Court with her and their sickly son Robin. His death prompts Robert to ask Ned to replace him and Ned is reluctant to leave Winterfell and go to the politics and intrigue of King's Landing. His mind is changed when a letter arrives for Catelyn from Lysa claiming that her husband was murdered by the Lannisters and that they are plotting against the King. It leaves Ned no choice but to go to the capital and investigate Jon's murder, while watching for plots against the King. 

Through the series, it seems as if the Lannisters are the killers of Jon but we discover in a later series that Lysa plotted with her lover Petyr Baelish to kill Jon and send the letter to Catelyn to start trouble between the Starks and the Lannisters, which Littlefinger wanted for a power grab of his own, and no doubt to get revenge on Ned for marrying Catelyn. It was Littlefinger's meddling which causes the war and then leads to the death of Catelyn at the Red Wedding.

Ned discovers the same information that Jon uncovered-the children of Cersei were fathered by her brother Jaime, not her husband Robert, meaning the true heir to the Iron Throne is Stannis Baratheon, not Prince Joffrey. Ned warns Cersei to take her children and flee as he is obliged to tell Robert the truth. In the aftermath of Robert's sudden death, Ned then informs Stannis of the truth and tries to stop Joffrey taking the throne, leading to his arrest and execution, and the start of the War of Five Kings. The irony here was that Ned was trying to protect his King and keep peace in the realm yet his actions began a bloody conflict that was to kill many people including his wife and two of his children. So far...I always felt that Ned's death was inevitable as the series progressed as he was too honest and merciful for his own good while his enemies were much more ruthless. 

The most heartbreaking death for me in season one had to be poor Lady, Sansa's wolf. Killed to appease Cersei's twisted notion of justice, Ned insisted on doing it himself so that Lady's fur did not fall into Cersei's hands and she was buried back at Winterfell. I never forgave Robert for just sitting back and letting Cersei demand her death, nor did I forgive Ned for being spineless enough to do it. He should have resigned and indicated that he was taking everyone including the wolves home to Winterfell and Robert would eventually have backed down. I sobbed for poor Lady when she was killed.

Robert Baratheon turned from the warrior hero into a drunken lech who neglected his family and was more interested in dropping bastards around the kingdom. His death was no great surprise nor was the manner of it. It seemed rather fitting that the King got drunk and was gored by a wild boar during a hunt. Robert may have saved the kingdom from the Mad King but he was certainly not a good King, plunging the realm into massive debt, neglecting his duties as husband and father and not caring much about running things. His sudden death led to Ned's murder and a new war for the Iron Throne.

This was the character death that I wasn't expecting. I imagined that Drogo was going to lead the dothraki into Westeros with Dany. I did not think he was going to die in season one! When he got injured slightly in the fight with Mago, I was shouting at the TV when Dany allowed the witch to treat him. Why Dany??? I knew at that point that no good would come of it and Drogo becomes seriously ill with her meddling. Dany was so naive in agreeing a blood price to save him without asking more questions about who would die in his place or what condition Drogo would be in. It was incredibly sad to watch the scene where Dany puts him out of his misery. I've chatted about this death in a previous post and as Barb pointed out, Drogo really needed to die so that Dany could become a leader in her own right and I agree with that.

If Drogo's death was unexpected, then the death of Viserys was the most satisfying! He was a violent bully to Dany and I enjoyed the way she gradually found the confidence to stand up to him. The whole death scene was brilliant, seeing him get the crown he so much deserved! I thought the actor did a great job of playing him as the petulant child and violent bully, and I was cheering Drogo on when he poured the molten metal over his head!

Syrio Forel was Arya's dancing master who was teaching her how to fight and, more so in the book, giving her life lessons which help her during her escape from King's Landing. He stops her from going with the Lannister guards, saving her from Sansa's fate and is last seen fighting the guards to buy her time to flee. Part of me still thinks he might be alive in a King's Landing dungeon as we don't see his death but maybe that is wishful thinking. There is a fan conspiracy theory about this figure behind The Waif...looks like him huh? Are Syrio Forel and Jaquen H'ghar the same person? Check this out!


So what did you think of the deaths in season one/book one? Which did you expect and which shocked you? What death affected you the most and which did you enjoy?

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Book Review: Redneck Apocalypse by Eric S Brown

Return to the beginning of the Bigfoot War series with Bigfoot War: Redneck Apocalypse!

In the deep south, a mysterious accident sets in motion a chain of events that tie directly into the storyline of the original Bigfoot Wars book.

A darkly humorous, gore filled tale of horror and action as a small town faces an army of bloodthirsty Sasquatch in a desperate battle for survival.

My Review:
Harold is driving home when he has a car accident involving a Sasquatch which the police decide to cover up. His only friend Danny is determined to prove that Harold was not at fault and clear his friend's name. He decides to sneak to the crime scene to explore...

The novella starts in dramatic fashion in the small town of Sylva with the last moments of poor hapless Harold who loses a fight with a Sasquatch. The rest of the town are happy to blame him for the accident, taking what the police say as fact but Danny remains unconvinced. He has heard the stories of what could be lurking out in the woods but is unsure whether there is any truth to it. To be safe, he decides to take his stepfather's gun and persuades ex-veteran Richard to join him. The pair are sneaking past a police roadblock to where the accident happens when they see for themselves what lives in the woods.

Their intervention starts a chain of events in the town as the Sasquatches are not very happy with the situation and decide that Danny and Richard need to be dealt with. If that wasn't bad enough, the crooked Sheriff is also toying with the idea of what to do with these two local troublemakers.

I don't want to spoil the plot by saying anything else but it is another brutal, gory Sasquatchfest! 
Read March 2017
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Around The Blogs With Chuckles

We all enjoy snooping and lurking on other people's blogs right? Why not share those entertaining things you found with other readers and bloggers too! Welcome to Around the Blogs with Chuckles, where I take time out to show you some of my favourite blog posts from the previous seven days and link you up so you can check them out.

This Week!

1) New Photos from Game of Thrones Season Seven!
Do you want to see some photos taken from the filming of season seven! Oh yes you want to! One of the photos really excited me for what is coming and I don't just mean winter! 

2) Scene by Scene Breakdown of the new Game of Thrones trailer! 
More excitement! The trailer flashes by really quickly but this gives several pages with freeze frame shots from the trailer, explaining what you see. Very useful and I'm itching to see the new series now! 

3) Why rating middle grade is do darn hard! 
An excellent post by Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction on how difficult it can be for an adult to review middle grade books as she is not the target audience. I really enjoyed this topic and could relate to the issues. 

4) Book Review: The House of Binding Thorns
Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum writes about her thoughts on this book and how the second book in the series did not improve upon the first. Well written review that explains her thoughts and feelings. 

5) Top Ten Tuesday-A Different Kind of Summer Read!
Check out the alternative to fluffy summer beach reads and put some horror into your life with Barb over at Booker T's farm! 

6) Book Review: Sex With The Queen 
AJ at Read All The Things shares her thoughts on the non fiction history book that is a fun trashy tabloid read...

7) 20 Medicinal Herbs for your garden
Ready Nutrition have given this handy list of the best herbs to grow in the garden for treating some common issues. 

Haven't had much time to really browse blogs this week. I need to hunt down some new blogs to follow...I'm looking for others who read apocalypse, horror, urban fantasy, zombies, maybe some bloggers who enjoy politics and Game of Thrones too! Recs would be welcome!

Chuckles Cover Love #27

If there is one thing that makes a great book even better, it is when it has a cover that we love! The cover design is what catches the eye as we browse through a bookstore shelf or check out the Amazon or Goodreads recommendations. The right cover makes me look closer at a book, to read the blurb and maybe make a purchase. A poor cover might mean I never look at the blurb at all. 

This week I'm taking a look at books I read back in March and will be reviewing this week. It is Eric S Brown's cult series Bigfoot War! These are some of the books in the series in no particular order, most of which I have and have read. A few are currently unavailable though. I love these cartoon covers!





Saturday, 27 May 2017

Chuckles Weekend Roundup

Welcome to my new feature Chuckles Weekend Roundup where I will be looking at what books I've received, anything interesting I've done or bought or watched and other random stuff. I'll be taking a look back at what happened in my blogging world too, sort of like The Sunday Post that some of you do! 

Please note that I'll be visiting your STS/SP as normal, but I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow DISQUS to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I am the only one who does that on my blog! Sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me because I deleted my account with them but I will persevere as it only happens the odd time!
A bit of a mixed week overall. We are in the middle of a heatwave which has set off my insomnia AND I've torn something in my neck which means I can't get comfortable sitting or lying down. It's all driving me a bit nuts. I hate summer as these warm spells really suck the energy out of me and make me grumpier than usual! I have, however, managed to get some decent reading done which cheers me up a bit. It's been zombies this week! I'm working my way through a Nicholas Sansbury Smith zombie series and I love it! In book three they rescue a military dog called Apollo, a German Shepherd and he's adorable!

On the book buying side of things it has been quiet with books I ordered last week arriving. One is a paperback copy of a book I enjoyed earlier this year-Swamp Monster Massacre. Plus a Tudor colouring book, Game of Thrones guide for seasons 3 and 4, more Game of Thrones journals AND a T Shirt featuring Steve Austin wrestling the Cookie Monster! There is nothing like the arrival of those Amazon boxes! On Thurday a pile of pre-orders are going to arrive so that is something to look forward to. Fun!



Chuckles Blogging World: 

Blogging didn't go too badly this week. I'd have preferred to get a few more reviews up but overall it was a decent week. I got most of my regular posts done and I was able to do a decent amount of blog hopping. I would like a bit more time on that, find a few new blogs to follow with similar interests, more time on Pinterest...but I'm pretty busy with stuff and spare time isn't forthcoming! I'm going to take a blog break at some point for a few days to recharge my batteries if I can get ahead this week and schedule some posts! Click on the link provided to go to each blog post if you missed it during the week and feel free to stop by and leave a comment!

 Book Reviews:

A couple of Retro Reads for you this week on the subjects of reapers, zombies and Greek mythology. The other reviews are all from books I read back in March this year.

Eric S Brown-Bigfoot War

Eric S Brown-Bigfoot War 2 Dead in the Woods

Eric S Brown-Bigfoot War 3 Food Chain

Ray Garton-'Nids

Catt Dahman-Louisiana Saturday Night

Stephanie Jackson-The Reaper Within

Ken Mooney-Godhead

JW Vohs-Zombie Crusade

JW Vohs-Zombie Snapshots

Regular Features: 

No funny election post this week as the campaign was suspended in the light of the Manchester bombing. Hope to do one this week though.

 Top Ten Tuesday-Ten Winter Books

Chuckles Cover Love-Rhiannon Frater

Around the Blogs With Chuckles

Discussion Posts:

Chuckles Chat-Horrible MCs

Game of Thrones Gossip-The Lannisters

Special Features: 

This week I did a special post on the Manchester terrorist attack.

Book Challenge Updates:

  My Goodreads Challenge total currently stands at 113/250

TBR total of books I own but haven't read yet stands at 806.Not bad considering the big horror splurge I had!

That's all for this week! Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog and leave comments. You guys are great! 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Book Review: Food Chain by Eric S Brown (Bigfoot War #3)

15 years ago . . .The world fell.Armies of the dead swept across the globe, toppling civilization and bringing humanity to its knees. Now, as the dead virus has ran its course and is fading away, those who survived face a new terror: the ever-growing numbers of the Sasquatch species.The Earth is an apocalyptic wasteland, survivors barely managing to make it day-by-day. Food is scarce, hope is hardly found.

Yet all turns on a dime when a secret base is discovered underground and it is learned that it might hold the hope for victory in this deadly world.War breaks out, and this time man and machine combine as the struggle between humanity and the beasts wages anew to see who will hold the top spot on nature's food chain.

My Review: 
It is fifteen years since the Sasquatches declared war on humans and humans are not winning. Greg and Anna survive alone in their reinforced cabin with hope fading for their future. Wally is travelling alone in search of his lost soul mate following the latest rumours about where she might be. A fortess of survivors face an attack by other military men who want their supplies. And in The Bunker, the last hope for the human race are about to launch their final weapons.

Greg has been trying to look after Anna, who has given up hope after the death of their child, but Greg is determined that there is still something to fight for. Wally has deserted his post as a skilled Hunter in New Denver to go in search of Bree, the woman he loves, travelling alone through a world full of Sasquatches, zombies and evil men. The fortified town of New Denver has stood firm against all threats but are now facing ruin when a military convoy arrives at the gate claiming they are seeking an alliance. Can the town withstand an attack of this magnitude?

Bree is at The Bunker, preparing her latest weapon against the Sasquatches who are marching in force towards their location. Her three generations of tech suits have allowed those inside to stay protected and successfully fight small groups of the beasts. But can the suits withstand an assault by so many? Can they protect The Bunker from the Sasquatches?

This has more of a dystopian feel as we follow those who have survived the initial war with the Sasquatches. It focuses more on the people with a battle at the end, rather than following the monsters on a killing spree. I did find the suits was a bit like the film Pacific Rim. It was a decent read but not as good as others in the series.

Read March 2017.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Book Review: Bigfoot War Dead in the Woods by Eric S Brown (Bigfoot War #2)

Bigfoot is back!

Mere hours after the Babble Creek massacre, the beasts strike again, rampaging across the American Southeast. A small group of survivors in Jackson County, North Carolina, fight to stay alive as things get worse. Bigfoot is everywhere, terrorizing the citizens of Jackson County, tearing them limb from limb and feasting on their flesh. Even the powerful US military stands in awe as the enormous beasts take their stand against them, going toe-to-toe with some of man's most lethal technology.

Just when the survivors thought it couldn't get any worse, death kicks into high gear as the dead begin to rise, hungry for the flesh of the living.

The military, tasked with restoring order and destroying the beasts, now find themselves racing to contain a virus that could mean the end of the human race. Colonel Drake and the small unit of tanks under his command are trapped inside the quarantine zone as the war between man and beast is joined by the undead.

The body count rises. Humanity is on the run. The night is filled with terror, the vicious growls of the Sasquatch and the haunting moans of the living dead. Are you ready to join in the fight?

My Review: 
The local teenagers are getting ready for the big party on the top of Bear Mountain. Pete is running for his life through the forest away from Babble Creek to what he hopes is help in Jackson County. Local law enforcement are hearing about a major incident in Babble Creek as they find a badly mutilated bear corpse. And the Sasquatches are coming...

Sarah is feeling stifled by her upcoming singer boyfriend Matt but goes to the party where he is performing. Ryan is there with girlfriend Vera and best friend Chuck and the party is in full swing when Pete comes sprinting into the car park, yelling that everyone needs to leave. It is only seconds later that the first Sasquatch rampages into the party zone with murder on his mind. Now the panicked people are racing for their lives to get into cars and flee the scene, unaware that there are more of the deadly beasts in the woods...

Kelly is a deputy in Jackson County and with sheriff Jonathan, they get word about the destruction of Babble Creek and that it was a tribe of Sasquatches who may be headed their way. Locals with guns are being arranged into groups to head for the party on Bear Mountain to try to deal with the problem but as they arrive, it is clear from the screaming that a disaster is already unfolding. The survivors head for town in the hope that they can find help but the Sasquatches are everywhere and people are being attacked in their homes and workplaces. They need to get out of town but is there anywhere safe to go...?

This was another full on Sasquatch massacre as the beasts find their way to another town and rampage through it. There is plenty of blood, gore and death to keep any horror fan happy and the action never ceases. But this book has an added twist that keeps things interesting. Those who die from a Sasquatch attack are not going to stay dead and a full on zombie apocalypse is about to erupt. As a zombie fan, I was pretty excited to have Sasquatches and zombies in the same book as it doubles the tension and horror. This is a fun gorefest horror romp! 

Read March 2017.
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Chuckles Retro Reads: Zombie Snapshots by JW Vohs

This is a collection of five short stories in the Zombie Crusade series. These "snapshots" are quick glimpses of critical locations around the world as the zombie pandemic begins to unfold. While the snapshots connect to the main storyline of the Zombie Crusade novels (some in obvious ways, others in ways that will become apparent as the series continues), they may also be read as stand-alone stories. Two of the tales in this collection, "Israel" and "Ontario," have been previously released electronically. 

My Review: 
There are five short stories in this snapshots selection. I previously reviewed 'Ontario' so I'll review the other four here. Thank you to the authors for sending this book to me to review and I apologize for taking so long to review it. These snapshots mention events and characters in the novel series as they follow different groups of people dealing with the start of the outbreak where they live. I hope to see more of all these characters as I progress through the novels!

1) Israel: Jesse is in Tajikistan to assist jews there in moving to Israel but on a hike he is attacked and bitten by sick locals. Concealing the fatal bite, he returns to Israel and takes the zombie virus with him. Sophie and her family watch events unfold on TV and decide to flee to their other home, helping a Palestinian family escape from zombies. Now everyone in Ein Gedi prepares to defend it from the zombie hordes while working on a backup plan to flee to Masada if the defences fail.

I so much enjoyed the opportunity to be with zombie survivors in a totally different environment from the usual UK or USA locations. Sophie, her son Mick and parents Avi and Lina are ordinary people and worry about other family members in different countries. It was also good to see the Israeli, Palestinian and Bedouin characters putting aside differences and mistrust to work together against the zombies. It adds a new dimension to the traditional fight the zombie story. The link to the main series here is talk about the US soldiers attacked by the virus in Afghanistan. This starts off apocalypse prepping for the MCs in book one.

2) POTUS: The President seeks expert advice on the outbreak and Barnes is happy to oblige, arriving at the safe bunker and claiming to have a vaccine for the disease. The President is more than happy to use this on everyone in the complex.

I don't want to say much on this story in case I spoil things but it was really good! The link to the main series is Barnes who features heavily in the opening of book one and there is the full story of what happened in the village featured in book one.

3) Maine: Colonel Longstreet works now in private security for rich clients and is tasked with protecting their island hideout by stopping other refugees from crossing the bridge. However, stopping the scared civilians is going to be morally tough as the zombies get closer and things on the island are going to take a serious turn when a select group of rich men prepare to leave for a new safe haven.

There is sooo much I want to say about this one but I can't without spoilers! I loved the moral dilemma of whether to do your job or show compassion to frightened people. I enjoyed the twists which lead directly from the POTUS story so make sure you read POTUS first. The link to the novel series here is Colonel Longstreet who was the commanding officer in the village outbreak at the start of book one.

4) Tennessee: A settlement of survivors have built a fortified compound and are living in relative safety until the arrival of General Jackson, who is offering the option of a vaccine and he isn't planning to take no for an answer. Do the people put their trust in him or take their chances with the mass of zombies heading their way?

Again this one really follows on with the vaccine story from the last two stories and I can't say much about the plot. I did like seeing a group of survivors who had started a new life from the chaos and who are unsure whether to give that up when the government calls. The link to the novel series here is Charlotte, sister of one of the MCs in book one, who refused to join him in a compound, instead staying near her home.

These short stories were exciting, well written and you cared very much about the people you were introduced to. I very much enjoyed all five, along with the first novel in the series which I have also read. I would advise reading the first novel 'Zombie Crusade' then reading the snapshots as extra information. Traditional zombie fans should enjoy this series! 
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Chuckles Retro Reads: Zombie Crusade by JW Vohs

Former Ranger Jack Smith watched an Army bio-warfare experiment go horribly wrong in an Afghan village in 2001, escaping only after he turned to a makeshift mace and bayonet to destroy the skulls of the infected creatures that bullets to the chest could not stop. With the traumatic experience seared into his mind, he earned his Ph.D. in ancient history and began developing medieval weapons-making skills after he left the service. 

When the virus broke free from the Hindu-Kush Mountains a decade later and rapidly spread across the globe, Jack knew how to fight the monsters created by the infection: 21st century technology combined with deadly medieval tactics and weaponry. Jack and his former squad-mates lead a resistance against a zombie apocalypse in a crusade to ensure humanity's survival.

My Review: 
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Jack and Carter meet in Afghanistan and witness a zombie outbreak which is barely contained. When returning to the US, both men begin work on a fortress capable of housing their loved ones with supplies to survive should the virus escape and come to their land. And then comes the day when the news reports a new pandemic outbreak in Afghanistan...

The book starts strongly with the outbreak in Afghanistan where Jack and Carter see their first zombies, going through the whole experience fighting together to survive. The book then jumps forward nicely to the completion of their fortess project ten years later, with the Castle ready. It is just in time as disturbing news reports catch Jack's attention and he knows that the virus has escaped and a deadly invasion of zombies is coming.

I liked the detail in the world building in the early days of the outbreak. It all happens just the way you would imagine it. We are with the men day by day as they watch the news reports, strengthen defences, gather supplies and start bringing their loved ones to safety. We then have Jack trying to help those in the local area, trying to convince the authorities to work with him. There is a lot of tell rather than show but the detail is interesting as we see the progress of the outbreak and how the Castle prepares for the coming war. The tension builds slowly as the zombie incidents get closer to them. I also like that the survivors are trying to keep quiet to avoid attracting the zombies and using old fashioned quiet weapons to do most of the battle with.

The other good thing about the book was the building of the three safehouses to house civilians who didn't want to remain in their homes, and having the response teams ready to go to the aid of those still in their homes when zombies invade the area. This leads to some exciting zombie action on a regular basis in the book, which nicely breaks up the described preperations. I found it all pretty interesting to read, and was looking forward to what the next problem would be. The action at the safehouses and the zombie attacks did not disappoint! I liked the fact that Jack made glaring errors in his planning which would happen when you're trying to man manage every detail and overlooking the obvious. It added in realism.

In a few reviews that I've seen, readers say that their main complaint was a lack of character development and I agree. Jack is our fully developed character as he is the hero, so we get a lot of what he thinks and does. I had no problem with that but sometimes it did seem to be all about him and nobody else. He is trying to be sheriff and organise a resistance movement but insists on being involved in every action incident ie the gas station attack. It felt sometimes that we missed the opportunity to get to know Bobby or the others because Jack kept dealing with it all himself and the team would arrive after Jack saved the day again.

This leads me to the lack of character development in the people at the Castle. Carter is the only fully developed character that we have due to him featuring at the start. We barely see Jack's family through this book and we only get to know a couple of the team members as the book gets to the end. I'd have liked to have seen more meetings and conversations early on with the major characters in the squad all talking, sharing ideas etc and leading the missions on their own, so we could get to know them better. I'd have liked to have seen Jack and his team spend time with their family, sharing a few emotional scenes with them. Again, we only get that in the phone call with David. It would be impractical to meet all the characters but I'd have liked a few of the characters running things at the Castle or on the teams to get more of a starring role. It would've added more depth and emotion, and could have taken the book up to five star status.

My biggest issue was the speed of romance with Jack and Andi. They talk briefly a couple of times and then suddenly they are kissing and in love. Having Andi become a major character first and having her spend time working with Jack and the teams first, then introducing romance in the later stages of the book would have worked better. The lack of dialogue between them meant a lack of chemistry. I do like Andi but I think it needed to happen slower to work for me. There are actually only a couple of characters outside the team that get enough page time to have us worry when they are in danger. There needed to be more of that so we can really invest in the main cast of characters. And if you plan to kill someone popular, don't do it off page as I too felt a bit cheated by that. It reduces the impact of the death to more of an afterthought.

There was a serious lack of dialogue in the book overall. We get Jack giving orders and explaining plans but there is no real conversation about normal things which means we don't get to know the people as well and don't really feel it when someone dies. Dialogue delivers emotion and impact and the book would have benefitted from this.

To sum up, I did very much enjoy the book. I liked the detail and world building, and the action scenes. I liked the overall plot and there is so much potential in this series going forward. The few niggles I mentioned about characters and plot issues were never enough to stop my enjoyment of the story, which kept me hooked enough to want to read the next one.

The authors have mentioned that they feel they improved the books as the series developed, based on feedback they got, which means I'm quite excited to see what changes are made and how it moves forward. There are already a good few more novels in the series and I'm coming to it rather late, so my niggles here might already be outdated opinions! Either way, I'm keen to read on! I would certainly recommend it to fans of zombie fiction.
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Book Review: Louisiana Saturday Night by Catt Dahman

Let the voodoo roll!

New Orleans will never be the same when a hurricane blows in hungry sharks controlled by bad magic.An uppity family is stuck on a houseboat with a family of swampers who have more secrets that you can shake a stick at. Beware as the swampers keep up the family tradition proving again why their gumbo always has that special taste...

The sharks aren't the only ones with sharp teeth!

My Review:
When river born girl Candy Lynn Audette gets pregnant to rich Landry Theriot, his social climbing family are mostly horrified but take her in as she gives birth during a massive New Orleans storm. The servants become concerned by the rising flood water and the only way out is to join the Audettes on their big river boat. However, the Audettes have a secret...their gumbo has human flesh in it and they are hunting down new victims to feed their family. And a voodoo curse on the family for their perversion means that a group of sharks are following the riverboat...

There are some characters in this book who are truly awful! Emeline is an unpleasant snob, and she and spoiled daughter Trish hate poor Candy Lynn and see her as trash. Their son Landry seems to love Candy Lynn until he sees the colour of the baby that she has given birth to and wrongly accuses her of cheating on him. Emeline's husband Frank and his children are the nice part of the family, who treat Frank's servants as part of the family. Frank's side of the family stand by Candy Lynn and are at least civil to the Audettes. The Audettes are mostly a dreadful bunch, who enjoy their cannibal lifestyle, and see the hurricane as an opportunity to hunt survivors. However, saving the Theriot family means it will be more difficult to hunt, unless they can create a few accidents for the Theriots...

It was a fun b movie romp kind of book. Usually obnoxious characters can be a turn off but in a book where lots of people die, I never mind it as much and the Audettes were actually interesting in their own way. Amadee, the father is a bully and a cannibal but he does care about their wellbeing to an extent. I liked his wife who just doesn't want to live this kind of life but sees no way out of it. Candy Lynn was also a nice girl who just wants to have a decent life with a nice family of her own and wrongly thought that finding Landry would give her that.

OK lets get to the sharks! In the beginning, it seems that the sharks have just been disorientated by the storm and rising floodwaters and are taking advantage of the dead bodies in the river to feed there. They are following the boat you think because the unwanted body parts not going into the gumbo are being thrown into the river. As the plot goes on though, it becomes clear that the Audettes are cursed because of the choices they have made and the sharks are following the family itself. There are plenty of death scenes involving sharks and snakes as well as the psych behaviour of the Audettes as they seek their next meal, which keeps you entertained through the story. It amazes me how many times people end up in the water in this book!

Overall I found it a fun read and it doesn't take long to get through it. I've read various books by the author and whikle they might not win literary awards, I do find them entertaining to read and that is the main thing.  

Read March 2017
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Chuckles Chat #18 Horrible MCs

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I'm looking at Horrible MCs.

When I pick up a book I am hoping to escape the real world and delve into a new place, an adventure, a world that fills me with awe and fear, and somewhere where I want to be for those few reading hours. I want to root for a character I love as my hero or heroine, laugh at amusing sidekicks, share their ups and downs, cry when they die and bristle at how unfair their life is. One of the most important thing to get me into that world and hook me is the MC. I MUST like the MC and with luck, most of the characters or I struggle to engage with the plot.

What is so important about the MC? Well this is the person who carries the book so I want to like them. Y'know, the fearless military leader taking his troops into a zombie apocalypse, the young hero fighting adversity with his friends, the gnarly older character who can see the trouble his town is in, the kickass female in urban fantasy, the hero prepared to venture into Hell to save his friends...I really love a hero or heroine who captures the interest. They can be brave or scared, any colour race religion or sexuality, flawed or long as I like them. If I do, I can emerse myself in their story and enjoy the book.

Why then are so many modern authors writing the worst MCs you'd ever seen? Would I have went to Mordor if Frodo was a spoiled brat who bullied Sam? Would I have went to Hogwarts with an evil bully instead of Harry? Would I have rampaged through Westeros if Eddard Stark had been a wifebeating rapist monster? Would I fight monsters with Cat and Bones or Deacon Chalk if they had been moronic idiots? Would I have cheered on Katniss if she had been a vain and whiny girl? No, of course not, I'd have DNFed them in a heartbeat! Look, I'm all for my MCs not being perfect if their flaws make them interesting, but there is a difference between that and making you hate them.

The modern author seems to have other ideas though. I've lost count of how many seem to use that whiny female who is always bitching and complaining and annoying other characters! In the zombie apocalypse I don't want to hear her whining about being dirty or breaking a nail. If you are that bothered, let the zombies eat you!!! I don't want to see the arrogant alpha male beating his partner, raping the unwilling and then justifying it by saying his life has been difficult. Seriously WTF!!! I'm tired of seeing the steriotype cheerleader bitch and mean jock bullying every new kid. I hate having an obnoxious arse of an MC throwing his weight around and slagging everyone off. Seriously, why would I actually care about any of these people? I'd cross the street to avoid them so why would I waste my precious leisure time to read whole books about them?
Why are authors making their MCs so horrible? I just don't get it! George RR Martin has a huge cast with the heroes and baddies but has made them all complex and interesting. He has  given interesting flaws to his good characters and sympathetic traits to his bad ones. THAT is what I want to see! I like the idea of hating a character one second then realising why they behave that way if it is well written like in Game of Thrones. Cersei is a monster but her love for her children and her unhappy marriage create sympathy-would YOU want to be married to Robert Baratheon??? Ned Stark is a good man but so stubborn and obsessed with honour that it destroys his family, yet you still love him. But these books I read now are full of obnoxious idiots who are there to annoy and change little, with no redeeming qualities through the whole book, and I'm hating this trend.

Do you think that too many authors make their MCs totally unlovable? What traits do you hate in MCs? If you hate an MC does it make you DNF a book? How much tolerance do you have for bad MCs? What are dealbreakers for you?