Thursday, October 29, 2015

Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks

Slasher Camp for Nerd DorksSlasher Camp for Nerd Dorks by Christoph Paul
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jason Vorheesberg is a failure at being a slasher, leading to his mother dumping him at the Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks. Will be become the Slasher he's always wanted to be and win the girl of his dreams?

The New Bizarro Author Series is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get, be it nougat, bacon, or crunchy frog.

Boy, even slashers have it rough in high school. Jason Vorhessberg is an aspiring Slasher with crippling anxiety in a world where Slashers are a form of population control. Dark humor and social satire are the order of business.

The stories has some commonalities with Friday the 13th but is pretty damn original. I didn't expect the love story to go the way it did, nor Jason stepping it up a notch. Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks is a heart warming coming of age tale for homicidal maniacs. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

King Space Void

King Space VoidKing Space Void by Anthony Trevino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dane Shipps is one of thousands of workers aboard King Space Void, a starship of unimaginable size in the shape of a colossal human. When a woman named Scarlet shows up, she takes Dane on a journey through the innards of King Space Void that will shatter his world view...

Okay, the 2015 Bizarro Author series has blown my mind once again. King Space Void is kind of a space opera via Stan Lee. Picture the world devourer Galactus, only with civilizations of people living inside him. What happens when one of the workers realizes his ride is destroying worlds? Yeah, pretty good shit.

I love what Anthony Trevino has done with King Space Void. How can you not like a such a crazy scenario with surprisingly deep characters and exotic locales? Dane goes through the wringer and back and, in the end, makes the only choice possible, as difficult as it may be.

That's about all I want to say about this. It's best experienced for yourself. King Space Void is a great example of why I read Bizarro fiction. It's fiction without boundaries. Four out of five stars.

The 2015 New Bizarro Authors homepage

View all my reviews

Monday, October 26, 2015


TowersTowers by Karl A. Fischer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lured by the promise of Heaven, Alti and Quatra became Towers, tasked with battling giant monsters for a thousand years. Alti wakes after his term to find himself flesh once again. Has Quatra made the same fate and can he find her?

The 2015 New Bizarro Author series sure has a lot of love stories in it, doesn't it? This time, it's between two kids who become sentient battle towers and then regain their fleshy forms, only to become giant monsters. Haven't we all read that story before?

No, actually, we haven't. Towers is a uniquely bizarre tale of a love that lasts for a thousand years. It's not very sappy about it, either. Alti experiences doubts, much like all of us who have served guard duty as a living Tower for a thousand years.

I found a few typos but the only real gripe I have with this one was the shifting time frames were a little unclear at times. Still, the raw emotion pouring off the page made me forget such things pretty quickly. Three out of five stars.

The 2015 New Bizarro Authors homepaget

View all my reviews

Friday, October 23, 2015

Elephant Vice

Elephant ViceElephant Vice by Chris Meekings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Mayor Dumps' son is found dead of an apparent **** overdose, the police turn to ace cops Vincent Van Gogh and Ganesha. Can a post-impressionist painter and a Hindu god find who is behind the **** ring and save the city?

You never know what you're going to get in the New Bizarro Author Series. In this case, you get a one-eared painter and a six-armed, elephant-headed Hindu god in a plot straight out of a Lethal Weapon movie.

Crime fiction is my bread and butter so I was all-in on this book pretty quickly. How could I go wrong with a post-impressionist painter/burned out cop and a Hindu god with a head of an elephant going up against a drug ring consisting of flamingos and the mysterious M?

This was a pretty quick read and there's very little to complain about other than the typos, but I assume the mobi file I have isn't the final version. If you're into detective thrillers, one-eared painters, or Hinduism, this is the Bizarro book for you. Four out of five stars.

View all my reviews

Rainbows Suck

Rainbows SuckRainbows Suck by Madeleine Swann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Deranged rainbows from space turn people into living works of art and force them to compete on television. Tilli's wish is granted when she joins their ranks and meets Felicite, a woman made of diamonds. Will their relationship survive the dark side of fame?

Here we are, another book in the 2015 New Bizarro Author series. Rainbows Suck might be the most bizarre bizarro book I've yet read.

Rainbows Suck, while on the surface is a bizarro love story between two living works of art, is really a book about the dark side of fame. Tilli and Felicite's relationship is under intense scrutiny from the start and Tilli's damaging past doesn't do her any favors either. The book actually reminds me of an episode of VH1's Behind the Music at times.

Madeleine Swann's use of nightmarish imagery and rainbows from space does a phenomenal job of presenting the destructive side of fame. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

View all my reviews


ArachnophileArachnophile by Betty Rocksteady
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alex and his wife are having problems. When Alex falls in love with the woman next door, things escalate. Did I mention the woman next door is a giant spider?

That magical time of year when the New Bizarro Author series launches is upon us and I will soon have all the books in my clutches. While deciding which one to pick first. I noticed this one was about giant spiders living alongside humans. Sold! After all, I take spider photos at every opportunity.

While I expected this to be a cool book, I in no way expected to love it this much. Arachnophile is a unlikely love story between a man and the giant spider that lives across the hall. While it could have been played for laughs, it's actually touching at times and very well thought out.

One of my pet peeves with some bizarro books is that they seemed slapped together and don't have much internal logic. This one is pretty great. The logic of the world is well done. I liked how Alex's racism, or speciesism, I guess, against spiders was portrayed. Also, and this is going to sound creepy, Betty Rocksteady made the spider's embrace seem really sensual.

Arachnophile is a surprisingly sensitive, well written love story. It just happens that one of the characters is a giant spider. Five out of five web-wrapped stars.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Three Hearts and Three Lions

Three Hearts and Three LionsThree Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Holger Carlsen is transported to another Earth, where he is destined to play a part in the war between Law and Chaos. Assisting him are Hugi, a dwarf, and Alianora, a swan maiden. Can they overcome the forces of Chaos and get Holger home?

I got this from Netgalley.

Since I've been wanting to read this for several ice ages, since I first got into Dungeons and Dragons and, later, Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion craziness, it had a lot to live up to. Yeah, it was kind of a disappointment.

Three Hearts and Three Lions is a mish-mash of a ton of quest stories, combining Arthur, Charlemagne, Shakespeare, and various other sources. I can see the influence it had on many later works, like the aforementioned D&D and Elric. I wonder if Roger Zelazny and Philip Jose Farmer were influenced by it as well for Amber and the World of Tiers. The battle between Law and Chaos has been a staple of RPGs since the beginning and fantasy fiction not long after that.

Three Hearts and Three Lions is very much a product of its time, at least as sexist as the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. While entertaining on some level, the sexism yanked me out of the story a few times. Another thing I didn't care for was the phonetic Scottish accents of some of the characters. For a chapter, it was fine. After that, it got on my nerves.

All things considered, Three Hearts and Three Lions is an enjoyable Chosen One quest story. If you're looking for one of the ancestors of modern fantasy, it's worth a read.

View all my reviews

The Passenger

The PassengerThe Passenger by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When her husband falls down the stairs and dies unexpectedly, Tanya DuBois cuts and runs, for she is actually a fugitive living under an assumed name. She switches identities several times but can she ever run from her past?

I got this from Netgalley.

I love Lisa Lutz's Spellman Files series dearly so I was pretty stoked to pick up her newest. It pains me to say it was a bit of a letdown.

The Passenger feels like a Lifetime movie to me. Tanya DuBuois is a woman on the run from a past that is only hinted at until the end. The marketing teaser makes is sound like she forms a Thelma and Louise partnership with Blue but Blue actually isn't in the book that much.

Eventually, Tanya/Amelia/whatever her name is hears that someone is writing a book about her and suddenly people aren't quite sure she should have been declared legally dead. Lutz achieves the paranoid feeling she's going for a few times. Otherwise, it's pretty unremarkable. I don't even know what genre to shove this in. It's marketed as a thriller but the thrilling bits are scattered pretty widely.

Still, it wasn't all bad. The last 20% kicked ass, once Lutz starting knocking down all the dominos she'd spent the rest of the book setting up. I loved the ending, complete with the unexpected metaphorical kick in the junk in the aftermath.

I'm giving this a three largely because of the ending but I wouldn't mind if Lutz stuck with Spellman novels.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 16, 2015

Carter & Lovecraft

Carter & LovecraftCarter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After his partner killed himself at a crime scene, Dan Carter quit the police force and became a private investigator. When a man he never met leaves him a used bookstore in Providence, Rhode Island, Carter meets Emily Lovecraft, his new employee. A string of impossible deaths plunges them into a web of insanity that might destroy the world...

I got this from Netgalley. Fuckin' A!

First off, I've never thought H.P. Lovecraft was a great writer and I enjoy other writers' takes on his concepts more than his. And now, the meat of the review....

I really enjoyed this book. It's part hard-boiled noir, part Cthulhu mythos, and pressed all my buttons. Dan Carter starts questioning things and the whole world unravels. His relationship with Emily Lovecraft was well done and I'm glad they didn't immediately jump into bed. William Colt was a fitting foe and a nice contrast with Dan Carter.

This is one of those books where I really don't want to give too much away and spoil things. I love how Jonathan L. Howard built on HPL's mythos and put his own spin on it. While the influences are clear, this in no way feels like a pastiche. It's true to the bleak Lovecraftian spirit but has an identity all its own.

Four sanity-blasting stars. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

The Greatest Zombie Movie EverThe Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After making a few short films that were barely seen, 16 year old Justin and his pals decide to make the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. When everything that can go wrong does, will the film ever get made?

I got this from Netgalley.

I've been trying to curb my Netgalley addiction but when this popped up, I was on it like a reanimated corpse at a brain convention.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever is the story of a group of teenagers trying to make a movie. It's a YA novel but without all the tropes that normally make YA novels so damn annoying. Instead, it's about a young director trying to keep his movie from going tits up and possibly win the heart of his leading lady.

Once again, Jeff Strand proves he has the writing chops to do pretty much anything he wants. The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever was hilarious but not ridiculously so. The humor didn't take away from the fact that I wanted Jeff and the others to finish their movie.

If you ever wanted to make a movie as a teenager, The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever will be quite a read for you. Four out of five stars. Now if Strand would just write that Exit Red novel I've been salivating over since Kumquat...

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

October Buddy Read with the Pantsless Ones

When an occult scholar recruits people to help him research the paranormal events at Hill House, will the house let any of them leave unscathed?

I've heard this touted as a classic haunted house story for decades and finally decided to take the plunge when the Pantless Ones picked it for an October read. I was not overly impressed.

I don't know if this was the case of wrong book/wrong time but I was not engaged by this book. All of the characters seemed like caricatures to me rather than real people.

There were some creepy parts, like Eleanor holding a hand in the dark that turned out not to be whose she thought, and Eleanor's descent into madness, but I was pretty bored most of the time. The status bar on my Kindle couldn't creep to the right fast enough.

I'm giving it two stars now but I may re-read it in the future when I'm in the mood for such a story.

View all my reviews