Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gargoyles: they're not just for Disney anymore

Life, as we know it, comes to a screeching halt when giant, green gargoyle-like creatures start cropping up and eating people beginning with the president of Mexico in front of the world at a large public event. Never appearing alone - just like cockroaches - where there is one, there are many!

The author of Dawn of the Apocalypse, E.S.P., has one vivid imagination for inserting this most bizarre invasion into the mundane day-to-day. In the subway, on the Queensboro Bridge, the boroughs of New York, she takes the reader from zero to crazy in nothing flat!

I really liked and rooted for the main characters, Cliff, Angel, and Hunter. The teenagers were scared and acted like teens, but underneath it all, they are strong survivors. There are creepy adults throughout that challenge the kids. A story aspect I really liked was that Cliff is the older teenage brother to the much younger sister, Angel. Having read a number of books where an older sister is the protector and stabilizing element to younger siblings, it was fresh to see an older brother in that role.

Early in the story, Cliff and Angel are separated from the rest of their family. Cliff does his best to keep himself together and protect his young sister while trying to survive. He is aided by a stranger, a teenage girl named Hunter, whom he meets during an attack in the subway.

Besides good characters, the author's apocalyptic catalysts are not zombies as is currently popular but GARGOYLES. Personally, I've always enjoyed looking for these carvings on buildings and liked the Disney cartoon characters, but these are the stuff of nightmares. (Literally. I understand the author was inspired by a nightmare!) These big boys are scary, green, vengeful, oblivious to bullets, and hungry.

Additionally, I am a sucker for a good story setting, and New York is a natural. The author has well known locations for action and all seems so comfortable until the gargoyles enter the scene.

Just like the characters, the reader will feel somewhat bombarded by action and the confusion that it brings. It makes for a fast paced story and a feel for what the characters are going through. But stay with it!

I recommend this very quick, entertaining read, however the text could benefit from a little clean up editing. But if you ignore that and just go with the flow of a good action tale, you'll be very glad.

You can find this ebook at

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Very Easy Story to Enjoy! (And it's a series!)

A Shade of Vampire, Book 1 – Bella Forrest This very imaginative tale told in first person from the perspective of two main characters features our world with vampires living in seclusion on a hidden island fortress. Their leader, Derek Novak, after establishing the secret sanctuary has been asleep for 400 hundred years. But Derek is scheduled to wake up soon. The vampires of this coven leave the island periodically to kidnap human to use as slaves and their source of nourishment. In preparation of Derek regaining consciousness, his sister and brother kidnap several young and beautiful girls to serve him in his harem, and in doing so select Sofia Claremont who was discovered walking along a deserted beach on her 17th birthday after having an argument with her best friend, Ben. When Derek awakens, he is taken with the young captive as he fights to control his blood hunger, and eventually they become emotionally involved with each other. The story has interesting characters with unusual back stories. Sofia has grown up under difficult circumstances, and was taken under the wings of Ben’s family. She was falling in love with Ben. Derek was once a hunter of vampires and was “turned” by his father. Derek’s older brother, Lucas, has been passed over to rule the coven in favor of Derek courtesy of a prophecy. The island protection against discovery by the vampire hunters was set in place by a powerful witch, Cora, whom Derek wooed to the vampires’ side. Cora, dead for centuries, was succeeded through the years by her own descendants, currently by one named Corrine. Ben also reappears to further complicate the story. The setting is fun and imaginative, too. The island itself, known as “The Shade,” is kept in eternal night by a spell crafted and maintained by Cora and her family. Prisoners are kept in “The Cells” and slaves in “The Catacombs.” A medieval town (“The Vale”) and “The Baths” serve as the meeting, shopping, and social centers of the coven. The members of the first vampire families are known as “The Elite” and live in modern, fantastic tree houses or villas with the members of the royal family residing in the best of the best – “The Penthouse.” Mystery, murder, a foiled escape attempt, and romance all serve to spice up this fairly short (152 pages) and quick introduction to the world and characters of this series - A Shade of Vampire. I look forward to the next installment - A Shade of Blood! This is just a very easy story to enjoy!

New Look on an Old Legend - The Impaler's Revenge by Ioana Visan

In this story, vampires are a known part of society, “living” amongst humans and going about their own business everywhere except … Romania (Points for the setting!) which closed their borders to the undead over five centuries previously. However, the country’s elected President has ordered a secret (and highly treasonous) operation allowing one 1,000 year old vampire, Maximilien Hess, into Bucharest. The operation is secret even to the vampire’s minder, Liana Cantacuzino, and her cadre of pandurs (trained vampire killers.) Liana is a descendant of one of the oldest noble families and is a member of the Little Council – the power behind the president. Liana and her pandurs have been trained from birth to despise and eradicate vampires from their country. She obeys the order but is not happy about it. The Impaler’s Revenge is the debut of her story told in the series, The Impaler Legacy, and it is a good one. Back stories slowly and naturally unfold to fill in the details of the characters’ lives. I thought the plot was a fresh take on the “vampires among us” theme, interesting and entertaining. The author brings out a different telling of the history of Vlad Tepes. I found myself liking the main characters and at the conclusion of this story I wanted to know more about them and what was going to happen to them. This sent me looking for the next installment in the series: Sweet Seduction (The Impaler Legacy #1.5). Then, too, is the great setting – Romania – and from an author that is familiar with the location. My only hope is that the stories are some day combined into one longer novel. I would so read it all again.