Book Review: Creepers by Bryan Dunn

Think Tremors when a zany group of characters struggle to save their home after a genetically altered creeper vine invades a small desert town with an insatiable thirst… and a taste for human blood.

Doc Fletcher, an eccentric biologist in the remote Mojave Desert, has finally created the ultimate drought-tolerant plant: a genetically engineered creeper vine. It’s destined to change the world, but not according to Doc’s plans. Instead, this vine has a mind of its own. Mayhem ensues as the residents of Furnace Valley (pop. 16), along with campers at the nearby hot springs, run for their lives – led by wannabe date rancher Sam Rainsford and the nerdy yet gorgeous botanist Laura Beecham, who has come to the desert for a reunion with the father she has never known…


Creepers has all the makings of a B-side horror movie within its pages. There are strange monsters, a colorful cast of characters, and the right combination of horror and humor to keep you interested and turning the pages.

Furnace Valley isn’t everyone’s first choice when it comes to living the good life, but most of the residents have found their own particular way of dealing with it. Doc Fletcher invested his money into a home because of the seclusion, and the ability to work on his genetically engineered plants. Sam Rainsford wants to grow seedless dates on his farm, and of course, every small town has a store and gas station that has to be manned.

Doc Fletcher is striving to engineer a ground cover that is drought resistant. It would be a plant that would work as a creeping ground cover in the desert, with the intentions of eventually reworking the soil into something that could hold vegetation. It looks good on paper, but what happens if you can’t stop the plant from taking over everything?

Laura Beecham - a botanist - only came to Furnace Valley to reunite with her father, Doc Fletcher. When she arrives she is greeted with the plant that her father engineered, and its unquenchable thirst.

The creeper plant has been altered to aggressively seek out a source of water, and the plant doesn’t discriminate as to where that water comes from. Did you know that up to 60% of the human body is made of water?

Bryan Dunn has done a great job in inventive horror, and I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for an action-packed off-beat horror story.

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Book Review: The Kure by Jaye Frances

Forbidden by law and denounced as an abomination by the church, the Kure has been hidden for centuries... John Tyler has never met Sarah Sheridan. But he knows he must find her, and somehow convince her that she is the key to unlocking the power of an ancient ritual that will rid his body of a rare and ravaging disease. But as cure quickly becomes curse, John realizes the ritual is more than a faded promise scrawled on a page of crumbling paper, and he discovers, too late, that the unholy text has unleashed a dark power that is driving him to consider the unthinkable. Ultimately, John must choose between his desperate need to arrest the plague that is destroying his body, and the virtue of the woman he loves, knowing the wrong decision could cost him his life.


John Tyler is twenty-three years old. His father died in 1865, and his mother died while giving birth to him. He has inherited the family farm, and the eligible ladies in town are waiting for him to take a wife. John hasn’t given much thought to starting a family, but all of that is about to change.

John is woken by a horrible twisting pain in his gut; a pain that he believes will eventually go away. Upon inspecting himself he finds that the skin below the belt is bruised and spreading. Barely able to take the pain any more, John makes his way into town to see the local doctor. 

The doctor’s diagnosis is grim, but he believes that he can help John by performing a bloodletting. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the doctor would like to set leeches on John’s manhood to draw the poison from his body. John’s natural reaction is terror at the thought, and he has heard whisperings among the elders of other cures. Defiant against the thought of a bloodletting, after having witness people die from the procedure, John forces the doctor to reveal to him alternative remedies. 

What the doctor shows him is a book of ancient spells, which are so immoral in ingredients, that it has been ban by law and the church. The spell and the requirement are thought to be so immoral that it could destroy the person’s soul that is being cured, and the people involved. But next to the bloodletting, John is willing to take the risk at first.

He offered no final muster of resistance, no new wave of strength. He was finished. The cure had become a curse, and it owned him. It was as much a part of him as an arm or leg. In the end, he knew he could only puppet the dark master’s wish.

John set out to find the one ingredient that is essentially crucial to the ritual – a virgin on her eighteenth birthday. He struggles with the morality of the situation, for his soul, and the soul of the girl that he seeks. 

I’m usually able to calculate how much I like a book by how long it takes me to read it, and in this case it only took me a day because I couldn’t but it down. Jaye Frances wrote a very compelling story that kept me glued to the pages. She laid a great foundation for a series as there will be a sequel call The Karetakers, and I am really looking forward to it.  

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Book Review: Vaempires: White Christmas by Thomas Winship

It’s almost Christmas. With the global holiday days away, the people of the world should be turning their attention toward celebrating peace and goodwill, but tension between humans, vampires, and væmpires is at an all-time high. Desperate for solutions, King Brant schedules a secret summit deep in North America’s Northern Forest. Along with Queen Anne, Princess Cassandra, Daniel’s family, and the human president and First Lady, the vampire leader seeks to reaffirm the ties between humans and vampires, while brainstorming ways to respond to the growing hostility among væmpires.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Cassie’s relationship is at an all-time low. The princess is still reeling from her breakup with Vielyn, and Daniel doesn’t know what he should or shouldn’t do to help. Little does he know that the summit will be flooded with surprises—guests, allegations, accusations, proposals, and even Christmas Eve revelations—but not all of the surprises will be pleasant.


While most Christmas stories warm us with goodwill and peace, Væmpires: White Christmas highlights the turmoil between the races of humans, vampires and the ever defiant væmpires. The second book in the Væmpire series is the prelude to the hostile takeover of the world by the væmpire race.

Christmas is near and all of the race’s hierarchies are vacationing together in the Northern Forest for a secret meeting. While the væmpire race does not have a leader – as they are still considered vampires – a councilman, Donrel, which has evolved into a væmpire, has taken it upon himself to crash the holiday. 

Donrel appears at the summit with a request to represent the væmpires with accusations that they are being purposely ostracized. There have been rumors that a scientist, which has been working on a form of synthetic vampire blood for the væmpires to consume, is going to make an appearance. Donrel is admitted into the proceedings and the party with the intentions of keeping the peace that seems to be falling apart rapidly.

Cassie is still confused over her breakup with Vielyn after he mutated into a væmpire, although she never had a deep affection for him. Donrel claims that she only broke off her relationship with Vielyn because of his affliction, and the tension tightens.

The book is a great addition to this series and it shows us the growing threat that led to the war in Revolution. It gives us in depths look at the political power struggle leading up to the fallout that we witness in the first book.

But it gives us more than that – Daniel and Cassie. Amongst the bickering of the political forces, we are given Daniel’s ever growing affection for Cassie. White Christmas takes us back the first threads of Daniel’s love for Cassie as he struggles with how, and whether, to tell her how he feels.

Thomas Winship has me hooked. With every new invention of the vampire there is a great book behind it, and I’m looking to see what Væmpire series has to bring.

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Book Review: Devil Bat Diary: The Journal Of Johnny Layton by Peter H. Brothers

A novelization of the public-domain film "The Devil Bat” (PRC, 1940).


Johnny Layton tried his hand at being a cop, then he fell back to being a PI, but in the end realized his calling was a reporter. His love of interviewing people led him to this position.

The newspaper that he works for has a large advertising account with a leading cosmetics company. When one of the owner’s sons life ends in tragedy, Johnny, and the newspaper’s best photography, ‘one shot’ McGuire, are sent to cover the story.

Johnny and ‘one shot’ are anything but friends. I found the jabs at each other comical in an otherwise somber situation. Both men slowly realize that if they want to make it home alive, and still employed, they are going to have to stick together.


So there we were: two guys who couldn’t stand the sight of each other working together for their mutual survival.

With Johnny’s detective background, he realizes that the death of the fortunes heir was more than just a random attack. The body count starts racking up, and everyone has their speculations to the true causes, besides the ever evident presence of a monstrous bat.

The premise of this story was taken from the 1940’s movie “Devil Bat”. I found myself reliving the movie “Clue” instead with the variety of characters. The French maid with a thick accent, the older doctor with the piercing stare, and the wise talking photographer, are to name a few. All of them holed up in an extravagant mansion investigating the mysterious murders.

The title of this book is the Devil Bat Diary: The Journal of Johnny Layton, and even though the book does not read like a diary or journal, it is equally entertaining. Peter H. Brothers does a fine job of retelling the movie, and I would recommend this is lovers of horror classics.

Book Review: Monster Planet by David Wellington

Set twelve years after the shambling zombie masses have overrun Manhattan, America, and the world, Monster Planet is the mind-blowing conclusion to what must be the scariest trilogy ever. Oceans of blood, scattered limbs, wanton violence, and general mayhem abound, along with revivified mummies, a Welsh sorcerer, and Wellington's signature brand of cool high-tech weaponry and sly humor — zombies, after all, are the ultimate consumers. What do the undead want, aside from fresh meat? Do the steadily diminishing number of humans who have somehow managed to survive over a decade of living hell stand a chance on a planet where they've been reduced to the status of prey? It all ends here, on Monster Planet.


It all comes down to this – Monster Planet. This book is the finale to David Wellington’s zombie trilogy, and being a fan, and having read his vampire series, he has yet to disappoint.

I wondered over to Amazon to get the info for this book, and noticed that the reviews were all over the board. I will admit it – this isn’t your traditional zombie series. There are some readers that hardcore when it comes to monsters, and don’t care to deviate from the hardened fast rules of what each monster is supposed to be. If you like your zombies slow, stumbling, and mindless, then this story might not be for you. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of your standard zombies in this series, but the author adds so much more to the walking dead that it makes it that much more terrifying for the living and the dead.

“What can be so terrifying for the dead besides a bullet to the head?” you ask. How about the dead that can think? Zombies that are so smart, that they possess a dark magic that can bring the end of the world as we know it. The writer refers to them as ‘lich’, and they battle centuries-old ghosts that inhabit zombie bodies, and mummies that have reanimated without the slightest yearning for human flesh.

In the first book we found one of these lich following orders of a ghost to destroy mankind. It is set six weeks after the zombie epidemic where ten percent of the population is the undead. The lich, Gary, rebels with his own intentions in mind – farming humans.

The second book takes us back the beginning of the outbreak. Nilla finds herself dead, without any previous memories of herself. She follows her inner direction to head west but ends up finding the source of the infection.

Monster Planet, the finale, brings back all the key players to finish the story. A war is being waged between the living and the dead, between those who want to rebuild the world, and those who want to end it all, and don’t assume that you know which side wants what outcome.

            From the book:

It was the last, the hope, that made her despair. It looked like the others had been treated to the same act she had – the kindly guide leading them on a tour of what must look like paradise on earth. To many of these people the idea of a safe place where the dead were kept at bay and where there was a little something to eat had long ago faded from possibility. They had been hiding, hiding for years in fallout shelters or hardened public buildings, eating when and what they could, resorting to whatever it took to stay alive – Ayaan knew that many of them could tell her what human flesh tasted like. They had been cold and hungry and alone for over a decade. When the Tsarevich’s troops dug them out of their holes it must have felt like inevitable doom descending. What little fight or spark of anger left to them had been shaken out on the long, horrible journey in the cages. Now they were brought to this safe, clean place and told lies about apple trees. Their brains no longer knew how to process bullshit.

David Wellington does a wonderful job of writing in third person. I’ve always been biased to first person POV, but his books seem to suck me in, and I forget about how the story is being told. I was pleasantly shocked to find characters from this vampire series hidden within his zombie trilogy. He brings the two series together to give you a feeling that his world, is all one world. I look forward to sinking my teeth into his werewolf series. 

Book Review: Revive by Thomas James Brown

Christmas is coming. It is a time of celebration, of goodwill and the sharing of gifts… But not for Tammy Becks. Her mum is sick, her brothers need looking after and in her desperation she turns to a coffee shop, a quiet little back-alley place, far from the bustle of the high street. It is called Revive.

Phil has lost his job of twenty years. With the festive pressure mounting a family of his own to feed, he must do whatever necessary to make ends meet, even if that means donning a beard, jacket and boots for the foreseeable future…

Except even that proves uncertain, when a last coffee on Christmas Eve sees him at Revive, A subtle horror has been brewing and the untimely death of a regular unleashes it in all its ancient, bitter force.

Even the dead can’t resist on last drink before closing…


I had mixed feelings about Revive by Thomas James Brown. The synopsis gave me a feeling that I was in for a ride of grueling horror, but it wasn’t the gut-wrenching bloody-terror that I thought it would be.

The day-in and day-out lives of two of the main characters take up most of the story. Tammy Beck is a young girl, her mom is very ill, and she has two younger brothers. With her mom unable to work, Tammy takes up a job at a small coffee shop, while the other main character, Phil, suits up every day as Saint Nick. Phil has recently lost his job and is willing to do anything to keep his family fed through the rough holiday season.

The scare of this story didn’t seem to be the unknown horrors that lay waiting in the coffee shop, but the everyday struggles of two people, from different walks of life, as they fight through a terrible economy. All of the worries and terrors of families living pay check to paycheck seemed to be the primary focus of Revive, with flashback of happier times that only intensified how dire the present was for the characters. Christmas is only a few days away, and everyone’s minds want to linger on being able to feed their families, and provide them with a Christmas that feels unaffected by the dropping economy.

There were areas of the story were repetitive, and it was intentional on the author’s part. Thomas James Brown does extremely well with theory of mind. (Theory of mind - the ability to attribute mental states of oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own.) My only complaint would be that the dialog became confusing with no attributions in some areas, but overall it was well written.

There was quite a bit of creativity to the plot, and in the end we still had our gruesome horror of the monsters the lay within the pages. I only wished that the ratio of everyday horror, and the supernatural horror, was heavier on the supernatural. The final sequence was thrilling, and the ending was somewhat disturbing with the evidence that had been presented through the book, but that is what makes up horror – the disturbing aftermath.

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Book Review: Thursday Thistle: A Fairy Tale by August V. Fahren

Lethe: le thenoun 'le-the

1: A dark, forgotten land from which all of our fairy tales originated.

2: A post-apocalyptic realm of twisted, magic wielding royalty locked in battle with a race of technologically superior Guardians (who seek to snuff out magic forever).

3: The world Thursday Thistle has journeyed to in order to locate Princess Monday, one of seven paranormal princesses each named after a day ofthe week.

In a world where speaking with "wise men" is more like dealing with tech support and romance can be deadly Thursday will have to contend with: the wicked cannibal queen, a zombie grizzly bear, wee werewolves, robotlaser-shooting mermaids, a steampunk tortoise, and a Zen archer monkey.

Additionally, she will meet the Schumacher Hound and find a haunted Halloween cuckoo clock temple and that's just the beginning in this tale of whimsical wandering in the dreamlike tradition of Alice in Wonderland.


Thursday Thistle is a teen girl living with her loving widowed father, and two ungrateful step-sisters that treat her badly. On a night when she is left alone in the house, she is visited by a strange two headed mouse that beckons her to follow without delay.

She had twisted and turned across acountless number of streets only to reach this place. A place where thestreetlight oozed down, a greasy yellow spot on the asphalt and the two-headedmouse, which resembled a swirling oil slick, hurried across the lighted spotand down the hill. It went down into hell. No, that wasn’t right. It wascolder, quiet, an unknown journey into the bowels of the world, down into longforgotten places where nobody walked, but sidewalks still remained.

Once Thursday has entered into this strange new land she is greeted with a nursery rhyme everytime she tells someone her name:

Me-O-My Monday is missing and Thursday has come again.

With what scarce information she can gather, there are seven princesses in this new land, and Monday is missing. She takes it upon herself to seek out what has happened to Monday in the hopes of find answers.

Along her journey she is runs into an assortment of strange creatures and characters including: a cannibal queen, a nymphomaniac princess, zombie bears, and insane wisemen, just to mention a few. Beyond battling these creatures to find answers, Thursday finds herself battling strong sexual urges in the presence of the princesses when she meets them.

August V. Fahren does a wonderful job assembling a strange and horrifying world that gives Alice in Wonderland a run for its money. My only grip would be that there were areas that seemed left out, as if the author expected the reader to already now certain information, and it left me slightly confused in an already maddening world. Thursday seemed to know things without being told in other areas, but overall I think the story was great and very imaginative.

Thistle Thursday was an odd collage of every fairytale, mixed with horror. This is definitely not a fairytale I was told at bedtime, but my morbid fascination kept me wanting more.

Book Review: Jack the Theorist by Jon Hartless

Only one man dares to confront the meaning behind the crimes. Only one man sees through the tangled skein to the truth. Only one man knows the answers. 

Or, at least, only one man thinks he knows the answers... Follow Professor Wolf, the world’s first Ripperologist, on his delusional journey into the world of the Ripper. Follow his long-suffering friend, Sir Arthur Smythe, who suspects that it will all end in tears.

Gasp at the revelations. Tremble at the truth. Wonder at the sanity of a mind that leaps from conspiracy to conspiracy without ever touching reality.


A district in London known as Whitechapel, lived in fear of a vicious serial killer know as Jack the Ripper in the year 1888. Those murders are a part of one of the biggest ‘who done it’ in history. The ledged of Jack the Ripper has spawned literally hundreds of theories as to whom and how they were committed. The people that study and research these theories are known as ‘Ripperologist’.

Jon Hartless explores many of these theories in his book Jack the Theorist, and does a great job of keeping the reader engaged. The theories run from a mad man, to a calculated killer, and even a group of people with a political agenda. In the end though, the killer took his secret to the grave.

In this book, Professor Wolf, a self-proclaimed Ripperologist, and his friend Sir Author, a paranormal researcher, originally start their research by fumbling upon the first slaying. The wild guessing and accusations that fall through the rest of the book give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money.

The whole town of London is terrified, but still people are morbidly captivated by the murders, and everyone has their own theory. The papers and the police only seem to encourage the hysteria that fuels the Ripperology, and everyone is becoming an expert.

Ripperology has become a game, but a serious game. New theories, the more outlandish the better, sell very well with the popular press and the paying public, but the game has bred envy and malice, and theories are appropriated by the unscrupulous.

Jack the Theorist is a quick read and a short history lesson. It’s sure to captivate any mystery lover. I’m certain that you will finish it with a mindful of your own theories. 


Jon Hartless was born in the 1970s and has spent much of his life in the Midlands and Worcestershire. He is the author of three bleakly humorous science fiction books under his own name, and two even bleaker works under the pen name Barnabas Corbin.

Rise of the Steampunk Empire will be published under the Barnabas Corbin name early in 2012.

C.V. Hunt reviews the Kindle Fire

This information was collected from Amazon’s website, and is offered to help review the new Kindle Fire.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or enterprise networks with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.

Content: 18 million movies, TV shows, apps, games, songs, books, newspapers, audiobooks, magazines, and docs.

System Requirements: None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer.

Content Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.

Web: Amazon Silk cloud-accelerated browser

Display: 7" multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.

Battery Life: 8 hours continuous reading or 7.5 hours video playback

Charge Time: Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. 
Also supports charging from your computer via USB.

Storage: 8GB on device for 80 apps plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6000 books. Plus free cloud storage for all Amazon content so you never have to worry about running out of space.

Dimensions: 7” x 4.7” x 0.45”

Weight: 14.6 ounces

Interface: multi-touch

USB Port: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)

Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.

Amazon Prime: Amazon Prime is an annual membership program that offers customers unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items, instant streaming of more than 10,000 movies and TV shows and access to borrow a Kindle book every month, including New York Times Bestsellers, with no due dates -- all for just $79 a year. Eligible customers who purchase a Kindle Fire will be given a free month of Amazon Prime.

I received the Kindle Fire in the mail a couple of days ago and have been playing with it ever since. This is the first tablet that I’ve ever owned; my previous Ereader was the second edition Kindle. There was nothing wrong with current Ereader, but there were some features that the Fire owned that I could greatly benefit from. So I took the leap in technology and decided to upgrade. I’ll go through each aspect of the Fire in order from the list above that was provided from amazon.

Connectivity: The Fire fell a little short in this areaL. Amazon has dropped the 3G capability on the Fire, and only allows Wi-Fi connectivity. I understand why they did this. Wi-Fi is faster than 3G, and with their new Cloud storage, it gives you the ability to stream items from their internet-based storage. By eliminating the 3G, they also eliminated any problems of TV and movies that were streamed having poor quality, choppy reception, or frozen vids. I think that they have room for improvement here. Mainly, I believe that they could bring back the 3G, but make the items that they are worried about unavailable on the 3G network. This would enable the customer to continue to shop, browse the internet, and access apps while away from home or hotspots.    

Content: There is more than enough content to keep anyone entertained and busy for hours on endJ. I will mainly use the Fire to read Ebooks, and that feature works great. I have downloaded one movie and the quality is awesome. Also I have fiddled with a few of the apps, which just like everything else, the apps are endless. I already used the Cloud for my music downloads before I purchased the Fire, so all of my music was already accessible as soon as the Fire was set up with my account information. Then there is the ability to read all kinds of docs, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

System Requirements: Amazon claims that the Fire does not require a computer. I’m sure that would be true if you didn’t need to transfer documents over to it. There is a small catch with this. Make sure that the Fire is powered on before plugging it into your computer, or your computer will not think that it exists. Also, you’re going to have to purchase the cord that connects it to your computer (not includedL).

Content Formats Supported: It speaks for itselfJ: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8. This is just awesome, and it is the #1 reason that I decided to upgrade. The ability for the Fire to read all of these documents is phenomenal for me. I write reviews, and sometimes an author doesn’t have their book available for sell yet, but they have it as a PDF or DOC. I want to read their book, but now I’m forced to sit in front of my computer to read it, and that is only when I have time. Being able to read these documents on the go now makes me give the Fire a huge thumbs up. I transferred two books that I received as PDFs, and I was really impressed. They opened and interacted no differently than any of my purchased Kindle Ebooks. This is something that I am very happy with, and also something that some of the other tablets need to work on from what I hear.

Web: Amazon invented their own web browser call the Amazon Silk cloud-accelerated browser. Although they say that it is accelerated, I really didn’t see much difference between it, and Google Chrome, which is what I use on my home computer. There is nothing wrong with it, but it is a slight disappointment after being told that it’s accelerated. It works… it’s a web browser… I’m happy with itJ.

Display: Amazon had to let go of their claim being able to read their products in the sun. The consumer wanted a touch screen LCD, and that is what they gotJ. I read some online complaints that the reaction time is slow, but personally I have not had any problems. I did buy an antiglare screen protector for it though.

Battery Life and Charge Time: My previous Ereader had a very long battery life, the Fire is only 8 hours. That is mainly due to all the features and the LCD screen. I’ve charged it since I’ve gotten it, and have been playing with it off and on, and I still have more than 50% of the battery left. I’ve never messed with any other tablets so I can’t really compare how much juice it sucks, but I’m impressed. I thought I would have to charge it every day. Apparently I don’t mess with it as much as I thought it would, or my perceptions of batteries are offJ.

Storage: 8GB would be puny in the way of storage for a tablet, if the Fire didn’t also come with the Cloud storage. The Cloud - for some of you that don’t know - is an unlimited online storage data base for all of your content. The Fire enables you to stream your downloads from the Cloud, and never even download it to your device, in return saving you that space for other items. You can also download your items from the Cloud to your Fire’s memory, so that you can view those items when you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, delete them at any time to save internal storage, and download it again later if you want. The Cloud is a secure backup for all of your contentJ.

Dimensions, Weight, and Interface: The fire is actually smaller than my second generation Kindle. The screen is larger and it does weigh more, bit it fairly compact compared to some of the other tablets that I have seen. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference on screen size for the customer. I like it. Even with it in a case, it’s about the same size as a small bookJ.

USB Port: This was almost a show stopper at my houseL. If you buy a Fire, you will open the box and find the tablet, and the power cord… that’s it. My previous Kindle came with the adapter cord and a nifty little attachment that plugged into the USB to convert it into a wall charger. People that own an iPhone (or other electronics) will know what I’m talking about. The Fire does not have this. If you plan on transferring docs to your Fire, you need to buy this cord; it is not included with it. Luckily my previous adapter worked. Also remember, that the Fire has to be powered on in order for your computer to recognize it when you plug it in.

Audio: I set up the Fire to play my favorite movie that I downloaded (Fight Club) in my kitchen, and then went about fixing supper. Here is another area that I think could use improvements. I found that over the noise that I was making, that I had to turn the volume all the way up. So in a noisy area, headphones might be recommended. Also, there are not external buttons to turn the volume up or down, you have to use the touch screen panel to adjust the volumeL.

Amazon Prime: Amazon gives you one month of Amazon Prime free for purchasing the Fire. At first glance, I want to jump all over this. The free 2-day shipping for one year on products purchased from them alone is enough to make me squeal, but on looking at it further, I’m not so sure if it would be worth it for me. For some people this may be a dream come true. With the Amazon Prime yearly package - which cost $79 year – you’re able to stream 10,000 TV shows and movies, and borrow one book a month for free. It sounded pretty tempting until I investigated further. The TV shows and movies that they offer for free are much older, and they only offer the free books from about 5,000 titles. That seems like a lot of books, but if you consider that Amazon boosts that they house millions of books, it’s really just a drop in the bucket. Free books, movies, and TV shows do nothing for me if they aren’t something that I want to watch and read. I’m sure that this is something that each person would have to investigate on their own to decide whether it is right for them. I personally would have to still have to pay for: Fight Club (movie), American Horror Story (TV episodes), and Frostbite by David Wellington (Ebook). And after looking at my purchase history, I would be cheaper paying the shipping charges on items that I purchased. Remember, the free shipping is for items purchased through Amazon, not the 3rd party merchants that supply a lot of items that are sold on Amazon.

With all of these cool features, Amazon almost forgets to mention their Whispersync technology. This is the ability to drop what you are reading on one device, and pick up in the same spot on another. For someone like me - that has the Kindle app on my phone - this is great. I can read a book at home and take off for an appointment, find out that I’ll be sitting in a waiting room a while, pull out my phone and pick up exactly where I left off. Then when I get back home to my tablet, it is synced up to spot where I stopped on my phone.

Overall I’m impressed with the Fire, and the pros more than outweighed the cons for me. My main purpose was to use it as an Ereader, and with its ability to read all kinds of docs, it has surpassed my expectations. On the tablet side of the device, there are areas that could use some improvement. In another words – I don’t regret spending the money on it, and I hope that it serves its purpose well over the years, just as my old second generation Kindle has. 

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Book Review: Monster Nation by David Wellington

In the heart of America, in the world's most secure prison, something horrible is growing in the dark. A wave of cannibalism and fear is sweeping across the heartland, spreading carnage and infection in its wake. Captain Bannerman Clark of the National Guard has been tasked with an impossible mission: discover what is happening — and then stop it before it annihilates Los Angeles. In California, he discovers a woman trapped in a hospital overrun with violent madmen. She may hold the secret to the Epidemic but she has lost everything — even her name. David Wellington's first novel, Monster Island, explored a world overcome by horror and the few people strong enough to survive. Now he takes us back in time to where it all began — to the day the dead began to rise.                   AMAZON


If you remember I reviewed David Wellington’s Monster Island, Monster Nation is the sequel to that book, and a prequel to the story, but only the second in the trilogy.

Monster Island took place six weeks past the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, where only 10% of the human population survived. Monster Nation takes us back to the first days of the pending doom, and again David Wellington does not disappoint.

In book one we are shown the methodical and strategic planning of the dead versus the living. In book two we are shown the down and dirty siege of the dead onto the living. We find the heart of every zombie story within Monster Nation’s pages: chaos and destruction.

Government officials, police barricades, CDC, FEMA, and the fear of civilians will not stop the infection. In the wee hours of the epidemic, officials scramble to piece together what is happening. Much like Monster Island, the author gives us the story from several perspectives.

I found Nilla’s story to be the most interesting. Just like Gary in the first book, Nilla has woken up dead. Where Gary had planned his death, Nilla’s was a mistake, and because of her unplanned voyage, she cannot remember her real name. She calls herself Nilla because it was the only thing she could think of when asked her name. Much like Gary, Nilla finds out quickly that she has an ability that most of the dead don’t. She is not driven by her hunger, but by a vision, the same one that Gary had, telling her to head east.

None of that matters though, because when you’re dead, the living hate you regardless:

They knew. The people of Lost Hills knew what she was. They could sense it. If she closed her eyes she could see them all, their golden auras, and she knew they were all looking back and seeing her darkness. Surely not as vividly, certainly not as consciously but they could sense her energy just like she could sense theirs.

Clark Bannerman is a captain. His troops stumble across Nilla in the early stages of the outbreak, but she slips away. His objective is to find her at all cost. Clark knows what she can do, and he also knows that she might have the answers to cannibalistic epidemic. If only he could only see past the fact that the cannibals are not alive.

David Wellington’s interpretation of zombies is unique in the sense that it’s not humans that the dead seek out, but the life force within them. If the dead are so inclined, and short on food, the will eat tree bark because it is living. It is the essence of life that they truly crave.

Ultimately Clark and Nilla’s paths have crossed for the same reasons: to find the source that is causing the dead to rise. The author keeps the pages action packed, and has a great style of writing that keeps me from putting his books down. I can’t wait to crack into the final installment.