a turtle’s eye view – stormbringer: book 2 of the wyrd by alis franklin

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via hydra in exchange for an honest review.

book two of alis franklin‘s wyrd series finds sigmund and lain separated and dealing with another ragnarok. sigmund’s gamer friends play a much larger role in this book and while that’s a welcome change the separation of sigmund and lain make the book less enjoyable. franklin’s writing is still good, and she once again shows an incredible mastery of norse language, customs, and, gods. unfortunately, part of what makes the story so compelling is the relationship the two main characters have to work so hard to maintain and that is missing in this addition to the series. stormbringer is heavy on the norse language, but franklin provides a glossary which is very helpful.

three out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – dark screams, volume five

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via hydra in exchange for an honest review.

i was happy to find only one author whose work i was familiar with in dark screams, volume five. you never know about horror and this collection gave me a chance to dip into the work of new (to me) authors without committing to a complete novel. i was not disappointed. i meant to read this collection one at a time, maybe when i couldn’t sleep (yeah, i’m crazy like that), or between other books, but i ended up reading it in one sitting. the stories were extraordinary.

five out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – dark screams, volume four

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via hydra in exchange for an honest review.

i haven’t read the first three dark screams volumes and now i can see that i have been missing out on some seriously great horror. i adore scary short stories and dark screams, volume four contains five excellent examples of the genre. the stories are the perfect length to dip into as palate cleansers between other books or to read in one fell swoop if you want to spend a few hours scaring yourself to death. my only advice is that you leave a light or two on and make sure you lock the door first.

five out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – bleedovers by william todd rose

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via hydra in exchange for an honest review.

welcome to the institute, the one thing standing between you and the supernatural. now say hello to chuck. he works for the institute, projecting himself into crossfades to help spirits who are stuck crossover into the afterlife. now get ready to run, because the crossfades, those in-between spaces where souls torture themselves and each other, are bleeding into our reality and it’s up to chuck to stop them.

let’s get this out of the way first – bleedovers was spectacular. i’m not sure what the “dystopian” part of the title really refers to but william todd rose has written an incredibly good horror novella. the characters are likeable, the spirits are scary, and the crossfades are completely freaky (imagine those times when you’re not sure if you’re awake or asleep but you’re still scared to death). apparently there’s a novella that takes place before this one and i definitely have to pick it up.

four out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – fixed in blood by t.e. woods

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via alibi in exchange for an honest review.

confession time: fixed in blood is the fourth book in an ongoing series and i’ve only read the first. i have a bad habit of coming into series in the middle like that but author t.e. woods made it easy for me because there was just enough back-story to give me a sense of what i missed in books two and three. i will admit that i like mort grant and under other circumstances i would probably be buying the other two books in the series right now. the writing was excellent and the characters were compelling. the inter-play between all of the characters was sharp and i went a completely different way with the mystery than the author did. i love when authors do that to me – when the mystery goes a different direction, when my thinking is just so completely wrong. i adore those stories.

here’s my problem with this book. it is incredibly, horribly, devastatingly graphic in its depiction of the deaths of the victims, one of whom is a 14 year-old girl. in particular, the description of one of the snuff films is brutal to read and literally made me sick to my stomach. i knew from the start that the story involved a snuff film, but i never thought it would be described in such detail. i don’t understand the need to do that. graphic descriptions of violence against women are not entertaining and using it to heighten suspension or tension simply trivializes an issue that gets too little attention as it is.

two out of five stars

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a turtle’s eye view – liesmith: book 1 of the wyrd by alis franklin

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via hydra in exchange for an honest review.

sigmund sussman works as a tech support drone for a company that’s hugely popular in the tech world. he’s happy telling people when to restart their computers and makes more than enough to support his comic addiction. he enjoys his life, his friends, and his weekly gaming meetups. lain is the tech support department’s newest superstar. he’s cool, sophisticated, full of stories, and has started flirting with sigmund which is odd because sigmund is none of those things. oh, one more thing? lain is a norse god and an ancient force called ‘the wyrd’ is slowly revealing the connections between them…just in time for the end of the world.

i really liked liesmith and am happy that it’s book one of a series. i found the writing enjoyable and liked the norse mythology, even though i found following the lives of the characters a little confusing and had to go back several times to keep track. i liked the inclusion of sigmund’s gamer friends and though i would have liked a to see a little more development of their characters, i understand their place in the novel was more peripheral than central. i enjoyed the idea of the another world bleeding into ours because of the wyrd and thought the resolution of that danger was cleverly handled.

one of the best parts of the story was alis franklin‘s development of the relationship between sigmund and lain. it read as genuine from the very beginning and developed just enough at each point through the novel that it was easy to understand their attraction to each other without just throwing up your hands and saying, “oh, it’s fate.” that would be an easy throwaway and, honestly, would cheapen what they have. i hope to see their relationship moving forward in the future wyrd novels.

four out of five stars

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a turtle’ eye view – agents of the internet apocalypse by wayne gladstone

disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via thomas dunne books in exchange for an honest review.

the internet is gone and gladstone, the internet messiah, hasn’t brought it back yet. the world is falling apart (well, okay, it’s falling even more apart than before the internet disappeared but it’s not gladstone’s fault because the world kind of sucked before he became the messiah so cut him so freaking slack, okay? sorry. what was i saying? oh yeah…)

searching for the internet has landed gladstone in a psychiatric hospital, the government has enacted the net recovery act which gives them scary powers over “persons of interest” in the net’s disappearance, the economy is tanking, and gladstone’s ex-wife is moving to california.

agents of the internet apocalypse is the second installment in wayne gladstone‘s internet apocalypse series and i was not disappointed. the satire and humour are still there but there’s more. more character, more soul, more questions about who we really are and what we’re really doing with our lives and our friendships. i was expecting all of this but i wasn’t expecting to care even more about gladstone and worry about his sanity. and i certainly wasn’t expecting to stay up all night in order to finish it.

five out of five stars

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