Hunter of the Dead – Stephen Kozeniewski

31306024Return to a time where vampires don’t sparkle, but instead hunger for the life that flows through our veins. In Kozeniewski’s 5th novel, we enter a world that feels like Bram Stroker’s Dracula and Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D. A world where blood and gore are the clothes of the undead.

This story takes you back to the roots of vampirism, where gothic horror is the genre vampirism was meant to be. There is tons of blood, guts, and creepy night crawling things to keep you awake at night.

And…of course, there is the quintessential Kozeniewski character that keeps you smiling with his light and jokey remarks even in the face of battle. However, it was more subdued in this novel compared to his others.

I have nothing bad to say about this story. I found it entertaining, engrossing, disgusting, funny, and completely appropriate for the genre that it is meant to fit into. It was way more engaging than the original Dracula was, since that bored me to tears. And I think it is a perfect addition to the gothic horror genre and a refreshing throwback to the vampires of old.

However, please make note, while I keep referring to Dracula, this story is nothing like Dracula and is a complete and unique body of work. I only reference Dracula because that was one of the first gothic horror vampire novels.

If you’re a horror/vamp fan, then I only see one outcome, and that is you loving this story.

You can find the book on Amazon for 17.59 in paperback and for 3.99 in Kindle format.

Synopsis: Someone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.

Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too – and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals. Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.

The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background. But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster…

 

The Man Behind the Book

StephenStephen Kozeniewski lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.

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*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

29056083I can’t say I was excited about this. I haven’t read a play since high school, and it just felt wrong to have a Harry Potter story in play format. However, while standing in line at the grocery store, I saw the book proudly on display and I couldn’t stop myself from adding it to the grocery que.

I’m a Harry Potter fan, but not a crying, pulling my hair out fan. I loved the stories growing up and routinely will have Harry Potter movie marathons.

I’ll admit, I whipped through it that weekend. It was quick and it was simple. To me, it was a mini side story of a father and son relationship that was clearly troubled. Harry isn’t winning any awards for best dad of the year.

It was good, it was okay. I have no desire to read it again. It paled in comparison to the original series. But if you look at it as a mini story I can go with it. A one time read and it’s worth it. Re-read value is zero and I say that only because it was so simple. Another read wouldn’t be worth it. There is nothing left to discover once read.

If you expect this story to be like the other seven, then I am afraid you are setting yourself up for disappointment. However, if you like side stories/quests and play script does not offend you, then you probably will enjoy the ride.

You can find the book on Amazon for 17.98 in hardcover or for 14.99 in Kindle format.

Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

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The Wizard’s Heir – Devri Walls

The Wizard's Heir (JPEG 900x1350)My magical side was satisfied this past week as I sped through this tale of a land full of magic, blossoming love and rivalries.

Walls has created a unique tale about a very common theme, WIZARDS!

When a writer can spin a new story from an old concept, then an exciting journey is sure to be had.

I enjoyed the tale, the main protagonist reminded me greatly of a personal friend I have, which was tickling to my heart.

It was a simple, original, and enjoyable read. And I mean simple in a good way. I read it quite rapidly and was never bored. The characterization was well done and the magic system was clever.

You can find the story on Amazon for $4.49 in Kindle format or for $14.99 in paperback.

Synopsis: Tybolt’s a Deviant, a hated race immune to direct magic in a world where Wizards ensure survival. But when he loses his entire family to a spell-made storm he joins an elite group of Wizard hunters, organized beneath the new non-magic wielding king. Now eighteen, he spends his days capturing Wizards. But the nights are his, reserved to feed the starving villagers of Eriroc under cover of dark. There’s always more people in need than he can help, and one of these days he’s going to hang for theft from the royal kitchens. Although Tybolt and his fierce partner, Auriela, have imprisoned many Wizards, the one partially responsible for the storm that killed Tybolt’s family is still out there: Alistair. When an old informant claims to have information regarding their elusive prey, everything changes. In a cruel twist, Tybolt realizes he isn’t who he thought he was at all. How can he save himself, the people, and those he loves while keeping his secrets safe? Can he hide his true nature and allow the corrupt king to remain on the throne? Or will he have to unveil himself and risk possible execution to save them all?

THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK

16fed4_f48e9384981d4b7c9b0064606dee8364Devri Walls lives in Meridian, Idaho with her family and one adorable little mutt. She writes in all things fantasy and would do just about anything for a working magic wand. Mostly because she’s a walking disaster and a wand would be of enormous help…although she’d probably trip and break it. So, there’s that.

She graduated with a degree in theater and has studied vocal performance most of her life. She now teaches voice lessons when she’s not writing novels, cooking dinner, playing taxi, spending time with her amazingly supportive husband or trying to read.

 

 

 

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The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose – Matthew Catania

26862212What a little find! If you love going to the Renaissance Festival every year, or even just periodically, you will love this story. I felt like I was watching a live performance of an actor retelling this tale of adventure. It was Monty Python and the Holy Grail mixed with present day summer medieval festivals.

Full of humor with bawdy jokes and nonsensical situations, this just tickled me.

I am sad to report that it is currently out of print. The publisher Booktrope went under recently, leaving this gem in a lurch. I hope the author is able to find a new publisher soon because it is worth the read.

You can still find the book on Amazon, though you can’t buy it. But who knows, maybe if you contact the author, he would be willing to sell from his possible secret horde of copies?

Synopsis: The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is the ideal novel for mature readers with juvenile senses of humor who enjoy satire, sex, knife fights, theosophy, bestiaries, sorcery, and some history thrown in for good measure. This tale focuses on the comic misadventures of a 14th century Franciscan monk known as Brother Banenose, who dreams of becoming a saint. Unfortunately, he is afraid of being martyred. Even less fortunate, Brother Banenose inadvertently inspires murderous rages in many people he meets in the outside world, including a family of relentless barbarians. When he learns that a precious relic has been stolen from his monastery, Brother Banenose sets off to recover it. Along the way he strikes up questionable friendships with some less than pious individuals including a sultry witch, a fraudulent swineherd, a warrior maiden, and a soothsayer who can only foresee doom. His quest leads him to The Idyllic Land Of Bliss, which happens to be beset by both a menagerie of fantastical monsters and the Black Death. The situation grows even more perilous once the Holy Office of the Inquisition arrives in town. If you were to put The Decameron, The Name of the Rose, and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle into a blender and hit frappe, you would wind up with something resembling The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose. Original paintings by the author are included.

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The Quirky Book Sirens – Episode 8

Check out our latest show where columnist, lyricist, playwright, and writer Jenna Zark joins us in a discussion about YA and whether you are ever too old to read it.

You can find her book on Amazon http://amzn.to/2a0n4vW

And you can find out more about her at http://bit.ly/29VatM7

Beyond Lilla – Tracy Fontaine

18259442I am always excited to read local authors work. Beyond Lilla, is special even more so, because it is historical fiction about my home city. Fontaine weaves many real stories within the life of a fictional ghost named, Lilla.

The large majority of the story takes place in a graveyard, known as Mount Hope Cemetery and follows Lilla around as she meets new ghosts and reflects on the past. This cemetery exists and is not far from where I live. I loved reading about some of the local folklore that exists that I never even knew about!

Fontaine is a good writer and this being her first body of work I am sure she will continue to grow. What needed work was the plot. There wasn’t a clear direction, and as a reader would have preferred the story being more about her journey to find ascension, instead of her interactions with ghosts she met along the way.

Overall, if you enjoy learning about local places, this has a wealth of information and is told by a likeable ghostly protagonist.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle for $2.99 or in paperback for $11.13.

Synopsis: Hovering over her wrinkled body, Lilla realizes she didn’t go to heaven. She’s stuck here among the living as a ghost. That magic light never appeared to take her to her dead husband, Sam, but she vows to find a way to spend eternity with him. When she begins searching, she slams into stone walls and scares people. Her unintentional hauntings earn her legions of unwelcome fans vying to prove the existence of this new ghost. Eventually, she learns how to get around from many spirits inhabiting her new world, and even protects some living relatives. She barely survives an attack by a vicious spirit, which leaves her disfigured and cynical. As time passes, she becomes so desperate to learn how other souls cross over, she commits a frightful act.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK:

7196627A native of Claremont, New Hampshire, Tracy Fontaine graduated from SUNY Cobleskill and also Rochester Institute of Technology, where she studied technical writing and health care sciences. She is a laboratory technician at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. She lives in Rochester with her husband. This is her first book.

 

 

 

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*I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Our Souls at Night – Kent Haruf

23602562I started this then stopped this, too distracted by the way the dialog was formatted. Then I started it again, and pushed through the formatting to find a special story inside.

Haruf is apparently a very well-known author. I have never heard of him, but I feel lucky to have stumbled on his last novel. A bitter-sweet story of romance in the last phase of life. It felt quiet and real. I ached for the characters and towards the end wished them well and that their journey was not over.

In the end, I found the format of the dialog, which had so offended me in the beginning, was one of the elements I enjoyed most about the story. It felt more like the characters were whispering, which added to the feel of the overall story. It enhanced it.

I highly recommend this tale. I think many people will connect with it and not just the older generations. It contains truth that we all can relate to.

You can find the story on Amazon for 11.99 in Kindle or 9.00 in paperback.

Synopsis: In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better–their pleasures and their difficulties–a beautiful story of second chances unfolds, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

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Quirky Book Sirens Episode 7

Check out our latest video! Keeping story originality with so few options!

Bloodspell – Amalie Howard

10679230I bought this awhile back, and finally cracked into it just recently. I’ll start with the good. Howard is an engaging writer, and I did enjoy her style. I certainly kept reading and was eager to get to the end. I liked the blood witch twist and how she is almost a vampire without the fangs.

Now for the eh part. There were too many similarities between this story and Twilight. The blood song, the vampire/love interest that was basically a reincarnated Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. This felt more like fan fiction than an original creation. Granted there were original parts, but overall, I felt I was reading another Stephenie Meyer remake.

I still enjoyed the writing and the story, even if I am not compelled enough to pick up the sequel. In the end, I just needed more originality to keep me coming back.

If you loved Twilight this is within the same vein. You can find the book on Amazon for $2.99 or in paperback for $15.99.

Synopsis: Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds — much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.

What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own…

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?

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Midas – Chris Nicholas

24949077I stumbled upon Nicholas’ blog one day and found it moving. Oftentimes, what he had to say struck a cord in me. I found that he was a good writer, but more than that, he was a writer that could evoke emotion in me.

Nowadays, his blog posts are one of the only ones I read. I usually delete most of what people prattle on about. But his, no his I spend the 5 minutes to read.

It won’t surprise you when that means I decided one day to buy his book. His first. It wasn’t necessarily something I would generally buy, but I thought if his blog spoke to me, maybe his stories would as well.

Well I did enjoy it. It was action packed, never boring, certainly interesting. I loved the whole Four Horsemen angle. And I plan to buy the rest in the series. I look forward to seeing where this story will go, what new characters will enter the scene, and generally what Nicholas has in store for his readers.

If you enjoy action pumped, political, military-type take downs and are looking for a fun, yet intriguing read, I’m pretty confident this story will satisfy your taste buds. With betrayal around every corner, you never know who is batting for what team. A thrilling ride for those who like a little wild on the side.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle for $3.99 or in paperback for $15.99.

Synopsis: Jason Dark is a member of MARSOC’s elite Bravo unit; a team of soldiers tasked with hunting down and eliminating the infamous assassin known as Chaos. But when Chaos is killed, his four sons avenge his death by brutally murdering Dark’s comrades and setting into motion their maniacal plan to bring about the end of the modern world.

Now a team of international soldiers has been assembled and, with the help of Dark, they must race against time to stop the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from launching a devastating biological attack against Europe.

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