Category Archives: books/book review

the stalking dead banner

Book Review: The Stalking Dead, by Eva Chase

I purchased a copy of Eva Chase‘s The Stalking Dead.
the stalking dead cover

Kinda dead. Straight-up psycho. Totally obsessed with her.

I did a bad, bad thing.

Thanks to a blank in my memory, I’m not sure what that thing was, but it was horrible enough to get me locked up in the mental ward for seven years. Horrible enough that my little sister won’t even speak to me.

But when I’m released back into a town determined to rub my unknown sins in my face, the past isn’t the only thing that’s haunting me. The four “imaginary” friends who made my childhood bearable barge into my life in a very real way.

They’re crude, criminally inclined, and more than a little unstable after ages trapped in afterlife limbo. All they want is to protect me. Worship me. Avenge me.

So they’ll bludgeon, maim, eviscerate—tear a strip of havoc right through this sleepy town.

Even rise from the dead.

Maybe I’m still not all that sane either, because part of me finds them strangely appealing. In ways very different from how I felt as a kid. And that’s not the only strangeness stirring inside me…

I promised myself I’d stick to the straight and narrow from here on. But what if the only way to set things right is to get a little ghoulish?

my review

The writing and editing are perfectly competent. The book is easily readable. But…’Meh.’ I thought this was entertaining enough but ultimately disappointing.

First off, the blurb set my expectation of the ‘Gang of Ghouls’ high. Sure, the blurb says afterlife, but the title says ghouls. So, I expected something at least a little monster-like. Instead, the ghosts just possess the main character’s bullies. So, they are fully phenotypically human. Then, the blurb tells us they “bludgeon, maim, eviscerate—tear a strip of havoc right through this sleepy town.” They do no such thing. They’re violently inclined, sure, but she is constantly telling them not to be and stopping them. They do very little in the grand scheme of things, honestly.

And while I thought them funny (and Ivery much appreciated how low-angst the why choose aspect was between them), I also thought they were idiots. It just got hard to take the chuckle-heads seriously enough to be true bad-boy romantic leads.

Add to that the fact that most of the tension in the book comes from campus bullies—the college campus feels a little too like a high school, really—and I found it all just a little too cliched. Her main foil, for example, is a girl who is jealous because the boy she likes is paying attention to the main character. Can we let this jealous girl villain—which has to be one of the most over-used in all of romance—dies already? I’m tired of reading it. I’m tired of what it tells me we’ve all internalized about other women and ourselves.

I spent a lot of this book waiting for it to grab my attention. But there are obviously some more interesting things happening in the wings that will come up in future books. The cliffhanger ending [and how tired am I of books that don’t end…very] speaks to that. But I felt like they all the stalking dead photogot held until about the last 1/3 of the book. So, for a lot of the time, I was waiting, waiting, waiting.

I would continue the series to see how those things develop if I could find a copy at a library, borrow one, or find a freebie. But I don’t think I’d buy it. (I rarely do if it looks like each one will end on a cliffie. Why bother unless you get them all? And that’s a different decision matrix entirely.)

So, all in all, not a complete dud. But still, a ‘Meh’ read for me.


Other Reviews:

@knottygirlreviewer The Stalking Dead Review #evachaseauthor #booktok #5starreviews #seriesstarter #reverseharem #bookwithspice ♬ original sound – Sandie

WE RIDE TITANS

Book Review: We Ride Titans, by Tres Dean

I accepted a review copy of We Ride Titans, by Tres Dean (author), Dee Cunniffe (colorist), Sebastián Píriz (Illustrator), Jim Campbell, Adrian F. Wassel (Editor). The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for a sample page, author and illustrator info, the tour schedule, and a chance to win a copy of the graphic novel for yourself.

Pacific Rim meets Shameless in this sci-fi kaiju action adventure, female helmed thrill ride where one woman must keep the monsters in check – as well as her explosive family!

It’s Mechs vs. Kaiju in this hard-hitting, action sci-fi adventure!

Kaiju hit hard. Family hits harder.

Just when you break free … you get pulled back in.

Trying to keep your family from imploding is a tall order. Titan-rider Kit Hobbs is about to find out it’s an even taller order when that family has been piloting the Titan that protects New Hyperion from the monstrous kaiju for generations. With an addicted, spiraling brother, a powder keg of a father, and a whole bunch of twenty-story monsters, she’s got her work cut out for her.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this. I liked the art and use of color. I appreciated the sibling affection and inter-generational discord. There is little bit of background romance and I liked that it wasn’t sullied by needless cheating to give the story artificial grit. There’s diversity and appropriate use of mental health services to address the result of generational trauma.

I did think that the introduction of the villain was abrupt and I could have done with a little more backstory. The mother’s role was never defined in any significant way and the kaiju just exist; we’re not told anything about them. All of this could have been improved with a little more length and time to unfurl. All in all, however, I’ll call this one a winner. If you’re at all into the mecha genre, check this out.

we ride titans photo


Other reviews:

The Real World According to Sam: Blog tour review, We Ride Titans

You Are The Wall – Character Outshines Spectacle in Vault Comics’ We Ride Titans

 

 

 

club blood banner

Book Review: Club Blood, by Sarah James & Cassandra Celia

I accepted an ARC review copy of Club Blood (by Sarah James and Cassandra Celia)  through Pride Book Tours.

club blood cover

Sin City just got extra bloodthirsty… Welcome to Club Blood.

Vampires no longer hide in the shadows and humans have adjusted, learning to coexist with the Known. But in a city filled with sinful acts and lustful affairs, it’s not uncommon for mistakes to happen.

Cecelia agrees to visit Ambrosia, a notorious nightclub run by vampires, on the night of her birthday. But as Cece stumbles across the murder of one of the Known’s most feared council leaders, she is thrown into terrible danger.

For Mercy, being at the top and conquering her kingdom has always been above all else. It doesn’t bother her when she has to rip the heart out of her boss in order to get what she wants, though she does find it inconvenient that there’s a human witness.

Mercy and her coven hold Cece captive in order to secure Mercy’s quest to reign. Soon, Cece finds it hard to separate fear and attraction, being drawn to the enticing danger of Mercy’s life, and Mercy discovers that there might be just one person she’s willing to protect more than herself.

Just being together is enough to upend both of their lives, hurling them towards a war neither of them ever wanted to start.

Mercy must decide whether having Cece could be worth losing her kingdom, and Cece must endeavor to survive in a world of danger and darkness that was designed to kill her.

Their lust might be worth the bloodshed.

my review

I’ve got to admit. I didn’t resonate with this book. The writing is quite readable, and even though I had an ARC, the editing felt competent. So, any complaints I have are really just of the how well the book did or didn’t gel with me sort. And I’m afraid I leaned more toward didn’t.

I liked the idea of the book. A female vampire, fighting the patriarchal vampire culture to rise to the top of her bloody and cut throat career/society. And I appreciate that James and Celia were playing with gender tropes a little bit. But I also felt the plot and characters was super cliched. I’m afraid making it an F/F romance, but keeping all of the characteristics of a M/F romance isn’t transgressive. It’s lazy.

[Spoiler] Here we had the villainous jealous ex. The jealous ex that is contrasted against the innocent love interest by her aggressively sexual presentation (in her clothing, attitudes, and actions). How many times have readers seen this same thing? Too many. There’s both the sassy (and promiscuous) BFF who tempts the pure main character to leave her safe bounds. Her promiscuity gets her killed, BTW. We’ve seen this a million times too. Then she’s replaced with the sassy gay BFF. This one is male, but still a character we’ve all seen in just this character position many times before. Let’s just stop there. But I could go on. The big shark who smiles to Mercy’s face but really duplicitously seeks to re-subjugate the woman who dared leave her subservient place? Yep, not new or interesting.

Really the cliched characters were more than I could handle. But the real reason this didn’t resonate was that it was inconsistent. Mercy is said to be so merciless, but if that was true she never would have let the events of the book go as far as they did without solving (or even acknowledging) the problem. Her very actions undermined the primary characteristic we’re given for her. Further, the whole reason she breaks character club blood photo(separately than the preceding point) to keep and eventually fall for Cece is a mystery. I mean it’s a mystery in the book. So, again, her supposed ruthlessness is undermined by her actions. Then there is Cece. She has a convenient personality shift that allowed for the happy ending. But it didn’t feel believable. It was too abrupt.

All in all. I had complaints. Several of them. But they are things that bother me. They don’t bother a lot of other people. I suggest reading the book and deciding for yourself.


Other Reviews: