Mark C. Scioneaux and David C. Hayes deserve second and third helpings of whatever they want for telling this story. With a title like “Cannibal Fat Camp” and the great Garbage Pail Kid-esque cover by Joshua Werner, it’s hard to not want to read it.
Miles Landish has a “huge” problem. Miles loves food. He eats when he’s hungry and eats when he’s not. Aside from the excess weight and health problems, his love of food has made him a social outcast. His appetite is so severe he can’t control himself if he knows there’s food around. When the high school principal catches Miles in a not-so-flattering moment amidst a trail of stolen lunches, Miles is referred to a doctor who sells Miles on the idea of attending a fat camp called Camp Tum Tum.
At first glance Camp Tum Tum is like all other fat camps. Every camper is overweight, subjected to controlled calories, lots of exercise and in Camp Tum Tum’s case, complete seclusion on an island.
Lose weight or lose weight, there are no other options here. At least until the counsellors are found dead, leaving the campers in charge. The only thing on their starving minds is: “LET’S EAT!”
When food stores run out, one of the campers named Charles decides to step up and take over the camp. His first order of business is to find more food. Being trapped on a deserted island makes finding food a more difficult task than expected…
Or does it?
Cannibal Fat Camp reminded me of a chunky Lord of the Flies, but with an obese amount of comedy and gore.
I highly recomMandy it!
Five out of five stars
You can pick up your Kindle or Paperback copy here.
The Venus Complex, by Barbie Wilde, follows the main character’s descent into madness by way of his diary. After a car accident, Michael is left to rehabilitate physically and mentally. While his body may have healed, his mind takes a turn for the worse. A college professor and art lover, he puts his life on hold and immerses himself in the study of becoming a serial killer. Plagued by his dreams, he acts out on his most depraved thoughts, which in turn spurs on the darkness just a little bit more. He meets Elene, and so begins the struggle between his dual lives.
Barbie Wilde has an excellent grasp of the male POV as she walks us through the creation of a killer. She takes the reader on a journey into the mind of a twisted individual, as he comes to terms with who and what he really is.
This tightly-written page-turner is not for the faint of heart. It contains some (amazingly written) graphic sex and death scenes.
Five out of Five Stars
(Interested in what my rating system means? Check out this link.)
Vincenzo Bilof’s most recent book, Necropolis Now – Zombie Ascension follows well-developed characters who are each dealing with their own personal issues during a zombie infestation in Detroit. When all hell breaks loose, there are reports of rioting on the radio but no one seems to really understand what’s going on. The characters involved are quick to figure out the city is being overrun by zombies as they realize man is attacking (and eating) man out on the street.
Vega, Miles and Bob are guns for hire. The mercenaries are sent into the mess that is Detroit to find a soldier named Jim Traverse and bring him back alive.
Desmond and Jerome are brothers, however they couldn’t be any more different from one another.
Griggs, the once detective turned porn producer, is trying to make ends meet now that he’s lost his star performer, Mina. She was committed to a mental institution to help her deal with a very dark secret.
As the story pans out, the characters chosen paths become intertwined in one another, weaving each storyline into a much more complex situation.
While I found the novel to be quite entertaining as a read, this is Zombie Ascension – Book One, the end did leave me hanging a little. However, I enjoyed Vincenzo’s storytelling in this first book, so I am now eagerly waiting for Book Two’s release date.
Three out of five stars.
I came across a review of She Makes Me Smile by Jonny at http://www.swedishzombie.com. It’s originally written in Swedish, but I translated it with google for your reading purposes. I suppose that makes it my first international review. 😀
Mark Baker is a good detective who’s growing tired of seeing the criminals he’s captured walk free either because of “technicalities” or good lawyering. Between his pregnant girlfriend, Gina and his (at times) frustrating job, his life is a roller coaster of emotions. When a strange letter arrives from Sarah, his sister who he hasn’t seen or heard from in nearly a decade, Mark’s finds himself investigating a mystery he may not even be able to solve.
Mark tracks the letter back to the tiny, Wisconsin village of Valley Mill. At first glance, the small town is everything Mark wants for his own city, content citizens and zero crime. After reuniting with his long lost sister, Mark learns more about the little town and the citizens who inhabit Valley Mill. While everything seems perfect, almost too perfect, he soon finds out the reason why Sarah felt compelled to send him the letter… and everything changes.
Kelli Owen has once again managed to tell a story which will keep the reader turning the page right up until the very end.
Owen doesn’t need to unnecessary blood and guts to get her point across but instead she excels at quiet and subtle creepiness throughout the book.
Her ability to describe the scenery and the situations the characters find themselves in, helps pull the reader into the spooky little town and stands them at the gazebo, right beside the rest of the Valley Mill odd citizens.
Owen’s character development is very strong which allows the reader to feel the full spectrum of emotions her characters are dealing with in the book, as they encounter new situations.
White Picket Prisons ends unexpectedly, leaving the reader satisfied with the outcome, but also wanting more at the same time.
Few authors can succeed at this type of ending, but Owen nails it.
5 Stars out of 5
*** White Picket Prisons is recommended as Mandytory reading***
Sometimes a title of a book strikes a chord and sticks with you. Maybe it’s because it moves you, maybe it reminds you of something from your past, or if you’re like me, it’s cause it’s got a huge swear word in the title.
This exact thing happened to me when I saw the cover for the collection of stories by D.F. Noble called Scary F*cking Stories. (I’d explain the * is really a “u” but I’m sure everyone figured that out already.) These weren’t just stories, these were f*cking stories.
I HAD to have it.
I waited and waited for it to be released by Strangehouse Books,
I ordered it from Amazon and it arrived. 😀
I didn’t get around to reading it until now and I’m glad I did.
Scary F*cking Stories contains ten short stories and an introduction by the author himself. The introduction informs the reader about the paranormal experiences Noble and his relatives have been involved in at the family farm house.
The stories in this collection cover a wide variety of themes, from monsters to weird weather patterns, to paranormal experiences and even aliens.
The Cellar – A short story about a teenage virtuoso, Marcus, and his psychologist, Shelly Andrews. Shelly delves into Marcus’ subconscious to help him through a tough time, but is she prepared to deal with what she uncovers?
Through The Walls – A babysitter loses a child and her sanity but leaves behind a letter and security camera footage that may hold the key to the truth.
Loop Road – Steven is on his way to visit his uncle when an accident on Loop road has him running in circles. The journey is sometimes more than half the battle.
Contact Schematic – This quick read outlines how to use strategically placed mirrors to induce a “visionary state”. The author also includes an email if the readers decide they want to share their experiences.
Wait In Line – The military has evacuated your city into refugee camps. People must comply or they are put to death. You move along with the herd like everyone else, but where are you heading?
Dead Wrong – A letter from a man to his brother which could change everything.
James – Sam’s dreams turn to nightmares the moment she moves into her aunt and uncle’s place. What or who is the reason for the horrible things she sees when she sleeps?
The Pen Or Sword. The Ghost Or Gun. – An employee decides to torment his boss with the ultimate practical joke but something happens that wasn’t in his plans.
The Blood Tide – Strange clouds roll in, condemning the patrons of a small gas station to face the most horrifying storm ever.
The Doorman – An autistic boy disappears and his parents entertain some extreme ideas to find him.
Night Cap – In the final part of the book, Noble addresses more of his personal strange experiences that all have a common denominator, the tiny town of Bunker Hill.
Scary F*cking Stories was a fun read. Noble’s retelling of his paranormal personal experiences in the introduction helps set the tone of the book early on. The stories were imaginative, entertaining and progressed easily. Noble takes the things that use to go bump in the night to a new level.
Stories deserving extra mention are Wait In Line, The Pen Or Sword. The Ghost Or Gun and The Blood Tide.
RAWR BRAINS… Seems to be the ongoing “zombie style” for writing and movies. I personally get tired of the “same old-same old” zombie stories. When one of my friends suggested I check out this novel, due to it’s non-normal-zombie-story, I did. Sure, it still has the “RAWR BRAINS” moments in it, like you would expect from a zombie story, but “Brains” is something a little different.
Meet Jack Barnes, he’s a professor/recently turned zombie. He can’t voice what he wants to say, but he knows he is different than the others around him. On top of his want for brains, there’s something else, a glimmer in his eye or a cognizance, if you have to call it something. He knows he’s not like all the other brain-eaters out there. He knows this because he can think and write.
A newly zombified Jack sets out on a cross-country trek to find the creator of the zombie virus, hoping to prove that not all zombies are mindless brain munchers as he quests for zombie/human equality. Along the way, he finds other zombies who are like him and slowly builds a group of zombies who have “talents”.
The first cognizant zombie he comes to meet is Joan. She is, or was, a nurse and has the ability to maintain the decomposition zombies face on a daily basis. She can repair and mend injuries with things she finds, like a Dead Doctor McGuyver.
Guts, an eviscerated young zomboy, is the next one to join the ragtag group of zombies with abilities. Not only does he understand, Guts can also run even though he’s decomposing at the same rate as every other zombie around him.
Then comes Ros, the first zombie who can converse since he hasn’t lost his ability to talk or remember.
Finally, Annie joins the group. The dead little sharpshooter makes for a welcome addition to the ragtag group of undead.
Throughout the entire novel, Robin Becker manages to create humour in what should be a tale about a horrific, zombie-filled world. Becker manages to create feelings of sympathy in the reader for her characters, even though they are zombies. On the flip side, the reader gets to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes… on dead legs.
Brains is a fun, well-written, different kind of zombie story for those who want a tale that isn’t like all the others.
***Brains: A zombie memoir is recommended as Mandytory reading***
I was introduced to Rio Youers and his writing when I attended my first horror convention. I picked up a copy of his novel, Mama Fish and added it to my ever-growing pile of books to read. Mama Fish was a quick, good read that I highly enjoyed. Fueled by my enjoyment of Mama Fish and my love for short stories, I immediately jumped at the chance to pick up his next book, Dark Dreams, Pale Horses. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
Dark Dreams, Pale Horses is a collection of six short stories written by Youers with an introduction by Brian Keene.
Pure: There is always a need for salvation during times of infection. Pure is a story set in the near future, however Youers spins a much different tale than what you’d expect from your regular run-of-the-mill vampire story.
This Is The Summer Of Love: Terri and Billy are the main characters in this story of love, protection, and need. Terri lives in a black and white world of sadness, at least until she meets Billy, who becomes her knight in Technicolor armor.
Ghost Of Lillian Bliss: An elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s recants a story from her childhood. While present memories seem to elude her, she has no problem digging up the images from her childhood.
Chrysalis: The world as we know it is now a cold, desolate place where people are forced up mountains to chase the sunlight and children are born at death’s door. Angelo, the main character, cares for the children in this touching fable of sorrow and hope.
Alice Bleeding: After an asteroid decimates parts of Australia, thirty-three survivors remain and wait for rescue. Sally, her four-month-old son and her husband survived but the bitterness she carries is destroying her marriage. The group waiting for rescue thinks the worst is over, but something more horrible approaches.
Promised Land Blues: Jonathan’s life long dream is to drive across the USA in a 1955 baby-pink Cadillac, stopping in every city mentioned in Elvis Presley’s song, “Promised Land”. While the road trip should be a week to remember, it takes a turn for the worse as mysterious events unfurl surrounding the ‘55 Cadillac.
Youers has a near-poetic way of writing. “Beautifully-written” would be the most accurate way to describe the rich environments, characters and the overall feel of every story.
***Dark Dreams, Pale Horses is recommended as Mandytory reading***
Thinking it would simplify my first reviewing task, I chose “Black Bubbles” a short story collection by Kelli Owen. I figured I could read a few stories per sitting, over the course of a few days. I could take my time, jot down take some notes on the stories and then formulate a concise review. The idea was sound, but once I started reading Black Bubbles, my plan changed.
Story after story, I was hooked and I couldn’t put the book down.
The collection contains 21 stories of differing themes. From ghosts to zombies, to serial killers and women scorned, Kelli’s stories touch on all kinds of scary things nightmares are made from. Through her descriptive storytelling, her words paint an easy-to-imagine picture in your mind’s eye, allowing you to follow her well-developed characters as they deal with their extraordinary situations. The lengths of the 21 tales vary from quick flash reads, 500 words long, (“The Rabbit” and “Brian Made Me Do It”), to full-length short stories (“Spell” and “How’s That Make You Feel?”). There’s even a “poetry-esque” free verse entitled “Shadows in a Bowl of Soup.”
Here are a few of the stories that stood out and deserve extra mention:
“The Worst intentions”: Patti and Debbie are the main characters in this short but intense story. The action begins almost immediately with a scene involving the two women and what should be ultimate terror, yet Kelli Owen paints an eerie picture of calm and serenity as they come to terms with their situation.
“Potential”: A story of secrets, loneliness, dating and death. The twists in this plot will keep the reader guessing throughout the story.
“Trials and Tribulations of Dr. Jekyll’s Third Cousin Twice Removed”: The title alone is enough to pique interest in the reader. The story is a humorous but disgusting account of what may happen when homemade acne cream comes with mutative side effects. “Trials and Tribulations… Removed” is easily the most horrific story in the collection.
“Black Bubbles”: The story after which the collection is named is the final story in the book. Henry is trying to stay alive, just like everyone else. The “Shadows”/black bubbles are like nothing anyone has ever seen before. Kelli walks us through a scary day-in-the-life-of-Henry and what could happen if our nightmares ever became real.
Black Bubbles is proof that some of the scariest tales are sometimes formed from the most mundane of ideas. The author’s notes included at the end of each chapter allow the reader a personal glimpse into the mind of the writer, as Kelli Owen takes a few moments to describe how the ideas for her stories came to be.
Kelli Owen has once again excelled in her ability to weave a story—or 21 of them—which will captivate the reader from start to finish. The variety of themes in Kelli’s storytelling ensures there is something to suit all tastes. Black Bubbles will please both the serious horror fan and the short story aficionado.
Black Bubbles is Recommended as Mandytory Reading!