Saturday, July 22, 2017

D. Melhoff: Grimm Woods


D. Melhoff takes the readers on a journey of what happens at your very typical fairy tale inspired summer camp:

A remote summer camp that is based on fairy tales themes is about to show the dark side of the fairy tales. When two teens are murdered and rendered in to a real life version of a classic Grimm's fairy tale chaos is about to ensue. The counselors and children are trapped within the wilderness till Friday and the bus comes to pick the children up, 4 more days they have to try and survive. But this killer has been planned for everything and has a Grimm Fairy Tale for each counselor they want to enact, survival is not likely.

This book (and several movies out there) makes me happy that I was never a counselor at camp, these people seem to get the worst of the worst at these camps, plus they have to take care of a whole bunch of children at the same time, no thank you. This book starts out like the Wet Hot American Summer (well less funny and more sex) with just some not so casual murders involved.

This was an gripping read and this was due to the fair tale murder aspect of the book. I personally was not aware of all the different horrors fair tales come from and Melhoff does not shy away from expanding on them. The deaths are twisted, gruesome and at times you can only imagine how much the individual suffered before they succumbed to their end. These are not your Disney tales that you think you know so well and I think that Melhoff describes it best when you first open the book "Fairy tales have not always been considered suitable for children. Many of them originally contained elements of torture, incest, rape, cannibalism, suicide, beastiality, murder and other horrific acts. All references to these elements in this novel are accurate". It was from this point on that you know but don't really know what you are about to get in to. Then by the end of the book you realize how screwed up our ancestors were for coming up with these stories, and you can understand why they have changed in to the Disney version over time.

This book does not strive for a lot of character development. Yes, we have our main character in Sean but with some many people being murdered like flies it is hard to really get to know Sean outside of how he tries to handle himself in each situation.  Other than that all we know about Sean is that he suffers from a reoccurring nightmare each night about trains. This book is very much plot driven as the counselors strive to stay alive, take care of the children at the camp as well as figure out why this is happening to them.

Was not as graphic as I was expecting for being a horror book, really only "experience " one of the murders the rest happen and are discovered or the people are killed but it is not elaborated on. However I am okay with this as it allows you as the reader to use your own imagination for what happened, so you can create it as graphic as you want in your head. This does not mean that these scenes are any less disturbing, the way some of the counselors die are horrific even if only the body is discovered.

This is the first book that I have read by Melhoff and it will not be the last. I enjoyed the thin lines that he played with throughout the book and he chose well when he decided to cross them.

Enjoy!!!
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Monday, July 10, 2017

A. M. Justice: A Wizard's Forge

A. M. Justice takes a ready on the journey of a young woman who goes from a Scholar to Slave to Warrior to Wizard:

Victoria was the youngest scholar in her town. It was her job to spread the word of the history from town to town to make sure that the past was never forgotten. On her very first trip she is kidnapped and sold in to sexual slavery to the Realmlord whose every desire is to break Vic's will and make her love him and no other. Vic is able to break free, she has no desire to be a slave she knows she has to fight in order to make sure it never happens again. She becomes a warrior hell bent on revenge from her former captor but there could have been other reasons the Realmlord chose her. Vic is about to learn more about herself and her destiny but it will a bloody battle and many friends will be lost and the very thing that Vic craves may be what destroys her as well.

This was an interesting read and more high fantasy with a mix of sci-fi than I thought that it was going to be and I think overall Justice created an interesting and compelling read but there were a few flaws. For me I got lost a bit in the details of the world building that Justice tries to impose on the reader.  It almost felt like Justice was trying to hard in creating her world. I guess what I'm trying to say is Less is More. I'm still not sure what the importance is yet that they are on a different planet than Earth this aspect was very downplayed the farther you go  in to the book. I'm going to assume here that there will be more development on this in the future books. For me what drove this book was the development of her characters both those you liked and hated.

Vic is an amazing character, the strength she shows on a daily basis to go through what she has endured is amazing. I liked that Justice never had Vic forget what had happened to her as it has shaped her and still defines her character and the choices that she makes. It will be interesting to watch Vic come in to her powers and abilities the more practice and control and I look forward to Justice being creative with this. There are times when Vic's ideal are child like though which makes sense as she is only a teenager when this books starts and she has to grow up quick. I also find that these characteristics come out the more that she is with Ashel. Personally, I disliked Ashel as a character; I liked him when you first meet him in the book but it kind of went downhill from there. He is a spoiled rich prince who is not used to hearing no, he has not really experienced the world and always has his family there to bail him out if needed. I think that Justice created him this way so that when he meets Vic and actually has to go through some life changing even on his own his character has the ability to develop and change.

Justice does not shy away from torture in this book and it takes on several different forms from mutilation to sexual to psychological in nature. While this book may feature a teenager, this is not for a young adult audience some of the things that Realmlord does to his people is very disturbing. However, Realmlord is an interesting foe and one that Vic will never be able to forget and he uses that to his advantage on more than one occasion. The Realmlord is one of the highlights of this book as his a a really good villain and the length he will go to for control and to get Vic back are extreme.


Overall enjoyed the book even though I found the world building a bitt too convoluted, I really enjoyed the story and Vic as a character. Of course there is a cliffhanger at the end too, so you'll be wanting to read the next book
Enjoy!
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

J.P. Delaney: The Girl Before

In his debut novel J. P. Delaney's characters enter in to a life changes in the search of perfections:

Make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life? How does one answer that question and it is a strange question to ask to someone who is looking to rent One Folgate Street, but it appeals to Emma (Before) and Jane (After). Here lies the intertwining story of two women at One Folgate Street and how the past can affect the present and people can find themselves walking the same path as those before them even if they know it will have deadly consequences.

This is a debut novel for Delaney however, it does not read like one. I found the story was interesting, with fairly well developed characters that kept me guessing and switching my opinion till the very end. (After writing this I found out that J. P. Delaney is a pseudonym for another author, but I was unable to find which author it was for, which I was able to find out was Tony Strong who I am not familiar with).

As I cannot seem to get away from this genre this year I have another Domestic Suspense read under my belt. How does this differ from the other ones I have read this year or does this add anything new to this up and coming genre, I'm glad you asked, as this book takes the manipulation factor to the hilt. And it is not just unknowingly being manipulated the two main female characters Jane and Emma, enter in to a tenant lease and relationship that they know is going to be full on manipulation as really this is one of the rules that comes with living in the house. I think this is what drew me in to the book. How could these women want to be manipulated like this, why stay especially Jane when she learned what happened to Emma. This book just has an overall odd/strange feeling to it as you try to understand both Emma, Jane and One Folgate Street that keeps you turning the pages.

I find the house is one of the interesting aspects within the book. It is stark clean lines, everything has its place and must be there when not in use. Delaney does a perfect juxtaposition between the clean well maintained house and the idea of perfecting the messy lives of the human race. It is also interesting to see how the house affects Jane and Emma differently as you go back and forth between their points of view (Emma: Before, Jane: After), which in my opinion was the best way to tell this story.

When I started this book I thought I was getting a mystery type of book, but some where in the middle is some how it turned in to 50 shades of grey (well at least I think 50 shades of grey as I've never read the series), well 50 shades of grey but with some murder. I guess you can attribute this to the manipulation and domination that Simon has and wants to have over Emma and Jane, I just was not expecting it.



Overall I enjoyed this book, even though it was not exactly what I thought it would be. This book is all about the manipulation within relationships and who is manipulating who, so with that I do not know if it will appeal to everyone. I look forward to seeing what Delaney can come up with next.

Enjoy!!!
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