Book Review: Chuggie And The Desecration Of Stagwater by Brent Michael Kelley

In the first installment of Mischief Mayhem Want and Woe, Brent Michael Kelley unleashes the horrors of Desecration on Stagwater. 

Norchug Mot Losiat, Chuggie to his friends, is Brother Drought. When, in his rambling, he stumbles upon the remote city of Stagwater, he finds love, temptation, and treachery. He fights against men, demons, and his own nature to battle the sinister forces threatening the city. But Chuggie? All he wants is a boat.



REVIEW:

There is a town called Stagewater that has a river running through it. It would seem normal by comparison to any other town, but there are things brewing that most of its citizens don’t know about.

The town is under the protections of Steel Jacks (robot aliens from another planet), and run by the magistrate, Haste, and his lackeys. Haste and his tight group of counsel use a method call tourgery to collect the sorrow from Stagewater’s citizens. By drinking in the sorrow, they enter into the Pheonal Trance, which allows Haste to predict the future of Stagwater. It’s deemed a necessary evil for the greater good of the city.

One of Haste’s trances induces the vision of a traveler that will bring the destruction of the town. The word is spread to send any strangers north of the city walls.

Disease, Fire, Flood, and Drought were all born somewhere around the beginning of time. Norchug Mot Losiat, better known as Chuggie, is the incarnation of Drought. His goals aren’t by any means hard; he just wants to make it to the ocean with his anchor and chain, which is attached to his ribs.

FROM THE BOOK:

“I’m want. It means I thirst. It means I’m poor. It means something’s missing. It means I fall short.” Chuggie spat at a mossy log. His eyes pointed at the ground, but his gaze pointed inward.

“That sounds like you get the losing end of the stick. If that’s really true, why would you keep on trying.”

“It’s just true enough.” Chuggie squinted. “Result is I don’t waste a lot of time makin’ plans. Usually just go. Livin’ like that can really shake the confidence if you aren’t as amazing as ol’ Chuggers.” His smile returned.

On his way to the ocean his anchor gets snagged in a tree outside of Stagwater. Gaurds are sent to direct him north, and by all means, keep him out of the city.

Chuggie grows upset with the way that he has been treated and suspects that the guards have used a spell on him. So he defies their request to head north and wanders south. South of Stagwater he finds a witch that has been banished from Stagwater and bound to the place that she lives. Chuggie has to free her, but first he needs to bring her some items, and this involves entering Stagwater… and heading north. What lies to the north? No one knows, because no one ever comes back.

Brent Michael Kelley did an excellent job of creating a colorful cast of characters for Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater. Demons, alien robots, incarnates, witches, and animated objects all come together to create a great dark fantasy that will stick with me. I loved it, and I’m glad that I had a chance to read it. 


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Book Review: 61 A.D. by David McAfee

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Britannia, 61 A.D. For ten years, Taras has lived in the young city of Londinium, feeding off the city’s underbelly. But now Theron, his old enemy, has come looking for revenge, and Taras’ nights of living in relative peace are about to end.


Yet not even Theron can slip into town unnoticed, and the Council of Thirteen sends Ramah to deal with the two renegades once and for all. But unknown to the Council, a much older enemy is also in Londinium, and this time even the great Ramah might not be safe.

Set against the backdrop of the Iceni uprising in Roman-era Britannia, 61 A.D. continues the story of Taras, Theron, and Ramah, as they fight their way through history.


REVIEW:

61 A.D. is the sequel to 31 A.D. and is written by David McAfee. I found the first book very inventive and well researched, and I was gladly given the chance to read the sequel.

The Iceni and Trinovante tribes have band together in an attempt to overthrow the Romans for transgressions they’ve suffered. Their plan is to destroy all the Romans in a coordinated a siege on the city of Londinium. This all happened in the year 61 A.D., and thus is the backdrop for this book.

Taras, a Roman, was accidentally turned into a Bachiyr (the term for vampire used through this series), and Theron has vowed to hunt him down to kill him. Taras’ transformation was a mistake, and it has cost Theron dearly. Theron is no longer in the good graces of The Counsel of Thirteen, and has become what he always sought to slaughter – a renegade vampire.

Now Ramah, the Blood Letter, and second in command of The Counsel of Thirteen, is sent to hunt down Theron and being him back alive for his punishment. Theron is chasing Taras, and Ramah is chasing Theron, and now Ramah is being chased by a phantom that the Counsel has long sought after. All of this is happening amongst the slaughter of Londinium.

The conspiracy still lingers in the world of vampires, and no one can be trusted.

FROM THE BOOK:

“I should like to know what I am agreeing to before I agree to it.”

“That is not the deal,” she said, jangling the keys for effect. “Agree to my terms or die with the sun. You choose.”

The Bachiyr turned his head toward the eastern horizon. The sky had begun to lighten slightly. It had not turned pink yet, but the black of night no longer reached the ground. Sunrise was an hour away at most. He turned his face back to her, his thin lips tightened into a grin.

“It would seem I have little choice,” he said.

The story of David McAfee’s vampires is well written. The research is phenomenal in order to place the vampires in a race across time. I love how David has brought the vampire back to his basics – being a monster. This book was good compilation to first book, but I found some of the backstory slightly repetitive. Overall I would definitely recommend this series for the reader that’s looking for murderous vampires. 


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Book Review: Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh

What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previous stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang.

REVIEW:

Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh isn’t a book that I normal read. There were no zombies, vampires, werewolves, or even a ghost that went bump in the night within its pages. The story is scary for reasons that monsters cannot compete with. The horror that lays in wait in this book is so close to reality, it’s scary.

The story starts in the year 2023, and follows a single male named Jasper just over the course of ten years, as the economy tanks, society falls apart, and the unemployment rate jumps to over sixty percent. His journey trudged through life, love, murder, and what it takes to survive in a crumbling world.

This is just the beginning of the story.

FROM THE BOOK:

And for the past ten years things had only gotten worse. Blackouts, war, fifty-seven varieties of terrorists, water shortages, plagues. It reminded me of a story about frogs: if you put them in an open pot of water and turn on the burner, they just sit there and boil to death, because they’re not equipped to recognize and respond to gradual changes in water temperature. They could jump out at any time, but there never comes a time when their little brains judge it’s time to jump. So they cook.

Imagine a world where middle-class no longer exists. There are the rich, and the homeless, and then there are those who are fed up. People with college degrees and no jobs for them. It’s a world full of scientists, doctors, researchers, and chemists… all shunned, and living in the streets. They have nothing left to lose and nothing to provide but their knowledge.

While the world is at war with its self, the citizens have decided to turn the terror that is their lives, into special kinds of terrorism to sooth themselves. Now there is a breed of eco-terrorism, bio-terrorism and even viral-terrorism spreading, as groups of vigilante citizens blame the rich, the government, and even fellow citizens for the world falling apart.

One group has invented a virus that won’t cure the world that is falling apart, but to help you forget the hell that the world has become. Homeless tribes must decide between starving to death as world falls apart, or join a group of cultist in their ignorant bliss as the world burns.


If you want to read something truly terrifying, find something that could very easily become reality. 

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Book Review: Isaac by P.H. Dillard

Should an angel kill an innocent human, he or she is cast out of Heaven forever and forced to roam the Earth as a vampire. Isaac is one such creature, and the most powerful of his kind. Aside from the far-from-angelic life he now has to deal with, and the sudden return of his ex-lover Ashara, he is also handed the burden of saving the world. When a rebel group of vampires concocts a scheme to free the angel Lucifer from Hell, so they can get back into Heaven, it is up to Isaac to stop them. If he can't, does he have what it takes to kill the devil? 



REVIEW:

There is an ancient myth about the how Satan, Satan-Sataniel, Samael, Iblis, Morning Star, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Belial, or just the plain old Devil came into existence. Satan-Sataniel was determined to build a throne high above the clouds, and god found this to resemble his own powers, so he cast Satan out along with his followers, and god cursed them to continually fly above the abyss. Along with this story, in the book of Enoch, god sent angels to earth to help mankind. While the angels were there, they were corrupted by the men of clay, and god cast many of these angels out of heaven. Some of them were damned to walk the earth, and others were cast into the abyss.

P.H. Dillard took inspiration from these stories when he wrote Isaac. In Dillard’s book, Isaac was the second angel god created, just after Morning Star. For an eternity, Issac and Lucy (Morning Star) were the only two angels, and the love that grew between them was like no other.

Over time, god created a league of angels with the purpose to help mankind. Since man is born into sin - and sin is in his blood - angles where sent to earth to filter the evil from humans - by drinking it. Yes, you read that right, angels drink blood.

God only bestowed on them one rule: never kill a human. If an angel were to kill a human – regardless if by accident – they would be cast out of heaven, and force to roam the earth with an insatiable hunger. They would become vampires, lose their celestial powers, and be unable to contact or communicate with other angels.   

Some of these fallen have seemed to accepted their new fate, other are desperately trying to find a way for god to forgive them, and then there is coven that believes that they have a loophole that will allow them back in. This loophole could prove to be disastrous for heaven, earth, the abyss, and Isaac.

I thought the pacing of Isaac was fast, but it fit the story, which is action-packed from beginning to end. I only wished the story was longer, and it ended with what made me think there may be more. Overall I think P.H. Dillard did a fine job of taking this legend and making it his own. 


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Book Review: Vaempires: Revolution: The Evolutionary War by Thomas Winship

In the future, humans trigger a nuclear winter that lasts for hundreds of years. Water levels rise. The shape of the world changes. When the world recovers, vampires emerge from the darkness. For a millennium, humans and vampires fight for supremacy... until synthetic human blood is created, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity. 

And the world changes yet again. Vampires begin morphing into væmpires, warm-blooded creatures with an insatiable hunger for cold vampire blood. There is no rhyme or reason as to who morphs--male or female, old or young, from one end of the world to another--no vampire is safe. And no human is safe, either, because these væmpires aren't interested in coexistence. They want three things: the eradication of humanity, the enslavement of vampires, and their ascension as the dominant species on the planet. 

It is the morning of Princess Cassandra's sixteenth birthday. With the world's attention focused on the heir to the vampire throne, væmpires revolt. In their initial attack, they kill the vampire and human leaders and take over the capital. As Cassandra, her boyfriend, Daniel, and the rest of the world fight for survival, væmpires unleash their secret weapons.




REVIEW:

With a strange twist, and a creative imagination, Thomas Winship has taken the vampire and turned it into his own creature.

The story starts with an action sequence and is nonstop action through the rest of the book. Væmpires opens with a war being waged on the capital of what is left of the world. Daniel, a fifteen year-old vampire, and the son of the captain of the guard, finds himself amongst a battle for his life against an even more terrifying group of vampires referred to as væmpires. With most of the royal family dead, he must try to rescue one of the few survivors of the family – Princess Cassandra.

Væmpires used to be regular vampires, but evolution has put a change to that. These vampires are warm-blooded, their hearts beat, they are stronger, have grown an extra set of thumbs, and their humanity is slowly slipping back to an animal instinct of survival. They have been shunned by the humans and vampire race. Vielyn, a former vampire, and former friend of the royal family states it best:

FROM THE BOOK:
“Vampires – our former people – rejected us. The world at large ignored us. The medical community failed us. The government abandoned us. What else was left but to forge our own path?”

Vampires are able to survive on a synthetic blood, and have gain a peaceful resolution with humans. The synth-blood allows them to walk in the daylight, and it quenches there never ending thirst for human blood. But væmpires are unable to produce the synthetic dead blood of a vampire, and with the feeling of being dejected by their own people, and uprising has been boiling below the surface.

Now the hunters have become the hunted, and vampires are discovering that væmpires are more powerful that what they appear.

Væmpires was extremely original and inventive. It took an apocalyptic world, added vampires, some X-men-like mutants, and added some futurist sci-fi elements. I know there are a lot of people that still like their old-school vampires, with the sunlight and holy relics, but I certainly liking these new and improved vampires that have been emerging. It’s time for the vampire to evolve into something more terrifying, and I can’t wait to see the sequel to this book.


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Goodreads Giveaway of Danse Macabre!

In order to get the word out that I have released another book I'm having another Goodreads giveaway. If you're a Goodreads member head on over to their site and get entered. You have until February 29, good luck.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Danse Macabre by C.V. Hunt

Danse Macabre

by C.V. Hunt

Giveaway ends February 29, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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Book Review: 33 A.D. by David McAfee

The vampires of the era have long sought to gain a foothold into Israel, but the faith of the local Jewish population has held them in check for centuries. 

When one of their own betrays them to follow a strange young rabbi from Galilee, the elders of the vampire race send Theron, a nine hundred year old assassin, to kill them both. 


The rabbi's name is Jesus. Killing him should be easy.

http://mcafeeland.wordpress.com/


REVIEW:

33 A.D. was one of the most creative and well researched books that I have read in a long time. The book is based in the timeline that the title states, with the back drop of Jerusalem, in the days leading up to Christ’s crucifixion.
  
The Counsel of Thirteen is a small underground government invented and ruled by vampires. They have long wanted a stake in Jerusalem, but there is a young rabbi that is teaching the Jewish population about love and forgiveness.

Theron, a nine-hundred year old vampire, and the Lead Enforcer working for the counsel, has been sent to stop the spread of rabbi’s sermons, and to dispose of a renegade vampire that has chosen to side with the proclaimed ‘son of god’. Failure is not an option if you are part of the Bachiyr race (the term used for vampire), and it is punishable by death or a fate worse yet. The Bachiyr that cannot stand the tests of the counsel are left wondering the world as a festering corpse that serves as slaves to the vampire race.

The vampires in this book are powerful and ruthless – exactly how I like them. They feed off of humans to survive, but there is only one small problem, people who have faith in god seem to have a strange glowing ward that surrounds them. The essence that shines from these people proves to be a problem for the vampires. The closer the vampire comes to a person that is protected by their faith in god, the weaker they become, and they are unable to feed from the faithful.

The human rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth would be an easy kill, if Theron could get close to him.

FROM THE BOOK:
It was not unheard of, of course, for a human to possess such a strong faith as to ward off one of his kind, but it was rare. Theron had been surprised to see the strong glow around Jesus, who’d been only the third such person the vampire had encountered in his nine centuries.

In a strange twist of events, and a monumental amount of ‘what ifs’, the author wove a great web of lies, murder, deceit and conspiracy among the vampire race and Christ’s crucifixion.  I look forward to read the sequel 61 A.D. Well done David McAfee.




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What I’ve learned in 2011, and the release of Danse Macabre!


Today is the official release of Danse Macabre, and it stumbled out of the gate around midnight. As I start writing this, it is 5:00 pm here, and the book has only made it through Smashwords and Kindle so far. I will post the link for them, and those for the paperback when it is available, on the preview page at the bottom. This is a zombie novella, and it was just a side project that I was working on. Here is the book cover blurb:

Spencer Mason has discovered a secret spell that will raise the dead, and as a funeral home director, there is no short supply of bodies. As Spencer builds a legion of undead soldiers, he plans to get revenge for the torment he endured during his childhood years - until Raven Anderson moves into town.

Blind since birth, Raven struggles to adapt with her new surroundings after the death of her mother. She finds a sympathetic shoulder to lean on when she meets Spencer, and the two find out that they have a lot in common.

Raven senses that Spencer is troubled by something that he isn’t sharing, but the thing that tortures Spencer the most is something Raven cannot see.

Since today is the first day of the year - and I don’t really post much about myself - I figured that I would do a short year in review. I never make a resolution because I don’t like to break promises, and I would hate to disappoint myself by not holding true to my own word. Instead I started thinking back to one year ago. What I was doing, dreaming, and hoping, and then about everything that I’ve learned since then.

One year ago I was anxiously waiting for my final edited version of Endlessly to come back from the editor. I had a slightly elevated hope that it would do decently well online. Don’t get me wrong, at no point did I ever imagine, or hope, that I would become rich with this book, or series. I’ve read a lot of books, I know what sells big, and Endlessly was not them.

Endlessly was about trying. Even though there are people that hate it, at least I tried, and that is a lot more than most people can say. It may not be grand, or the next greatest novel, but I put my heart out there on display, and smiled when people stabbed it and called it crap. Why? Because that’s what authors do. We slave, stress, worry, lose sleep, get frustrated, and spend months of our free time building something for people to enjoy. Then someone comes along and tells us its garbage, and we smile, nod, and say thank you for your feedback. Or at least that is what an author should do. Some take it personal and attack the negative reviewer, which is a bunch of bull, not everyone has the same opinion, and I would hate to live in a world where everyone did.

Through this process I learned a lot. Things like grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure… all the things that I should have paid attention to in high school. But there was more than what I thought, like: formatting, cover design, pitches, marketing, cover letters, and constant rejection from agents and publishers. It's enough to squash your self-esteem, and it makes you question whether it’s really all worth the effort.

I moved forward, even with all the negativity, and published Legacy. This time it moved a little easier because I knew what to expect. I took everything that I had learned, used it, plus I learned more about grammar. Reviewers were gentler, but I know that is to be expected. Let’s face it; if you don’t like a book, you sure as hell aren’t going to read the sequel to it. I learned some more about repeat customers and their expectations, and still disappointed a few readers.

Then I joined The LL Book Review. Having written two books at this time, I knew what it was like to try and get your name out there. I have this weird thing about doing things for other people that I would like done for me. (They call it The Golden Rule I hear.) I call it karma. When I was starting out, I just wanted someone to read my book and leave a review, and this is was the LL does. So after Legacy, I started writing reviews while I continued with my own writing venture.

Phantom was up next, and at this point, people are constantly asking when it’s going to be available. (Late February 2012) Phantom was the first book that I wrote that I actually felt confident with the way that it turned out. I know that any editor that would look at it would say that it was crap, and it really needed to be cleaned up, but knowing how the first draft of Endlessly looked compared to Phantom, I was happy with all the progress that I had made as a writer.

While Phantom was off in the hands of the editor, I started fiddling around with Danse Macabre. (And now we come full circle.) I never meant for it to be anything really serious, and wasn’t even sure if I was going to publish it. I’ve spoken with other authors since becoming a reviewer at the LL, and I have started growing a small network of contacts. I asked one author if he would be interested in critiquing Danse Macabre, and he accepted. We had a huge meeting of the minds, and I can’t begin to tell you how much we learned from each other. I had to take notes to remember it all, and since then, I have begun keeping a small notebook with the things that I learn about grammar on my desk, along with my grammar book, dictionary, and The Elements Of Style.  

One year. It just amazes me how much I’ve learned in one year. I can’t claim that I know everything about writing, and I still have a bumpy road ahead if I continue to write, but I’m learning. And as long as you are open to suggestions, and willing to learn from your mistakes, you won’t go insane.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” - Albert Einstein



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