5 BIG STARS for VALKYRIE: THE ROAD by Tony Bowman – BOOK REVIEW

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VALKYRIE: THE ROAD
A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Horror

Author: Tony Bowman

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Horror

Length: 334 pages

ISBN: 9781515051671

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free autographed softcover copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is NOT your typical apocalypse. There have been books that describe a virus wiping out most of humanity, a multitude of books that describe the zombie apocalypse, and there
have been books that describe the economy collapsing or an EMP pulse that returns North America to the time of the pioneers. This book does not subscribe to any of these potential apocalyptic scenarios. Instead, Tony Bowman has imagined a supernatural wave of horror that sweeps across the nation.

Demons, vampires, werewolves, witches, voodoo practitioners, ghouls and cannibals fill the pages of this novel.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Nope! Somehow Tony Bowman has made the existance of these creatures 100% believable. In fact, their supernatural origins are almost irrelevant to the main story. You will have to read this book to “see” for yourself what I mean.

The characters are superbly written and each one has their own fully realized backstory and readers will find themselves invested in their welfare. I absolutely loved the characters and am hard-pressed to choose a single favorite. In fact, characters who do not have huge parts in the story are still written with depth and these characters are also memorable.

Cole is human. He drives a truck. On the eve of the apocalypse he finds himself in a truck stop with people he doesn’t know. Fortunately for him, one of these people is a young genius (nicknamed Monkey) who is prepared for just such an event.

Perhaps the most significant possession Monkey has is called Valkyrie – a large truck. But, this truck is far from an average eighteen wheeler. This truck could be more accurately described as a rolling fortress rather than just a mere truck.

Fast forward quite a few years. Cole and Monkey and the Valkyrie have figured out how to survive in the new world.

The demons have mostly stepped back from the running of the world. Vampires reign supreme in the cities, but outside the cities cannibals, werewolves and witches have all claimed territories of their own.

Nowhere is safe. Humans are treated like either slaves or cattle, but the crew of the Valkyrie have figured out how to make themselves indispensable to those in power.

The vampires believe that the crew are collaborators. Werewolves avoid them because of Valkyrie’s firepower. The voodoo priest also believes they are collaborators. The cannibals want to kill and eat the crew and seek to take possession of Valkyrie.

No one seems to suspect that the crew may have their own agenda. But, maybe the vampires do suspect, because Valkyrie has a new crew member … one of the most powerful vampires in the city.

Can they keep their true purpose hidden or is this the end for the Valkyrie and her crew? And what about humanity? Are humans doomed to extinction?

I am astounded by how much I enjoyed this book. This is a MUST READ for everyone who loves post-apocalyptic fiction, paranormal fiction and/or horror fiction.

I give VALKYRIE: THE ROAD a hearty 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the second book by Tony Bowman that I have had the pleasure to read and it will definitely not be the last. I am now a fan of author Tony Bowman.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Tony Bowman is the author of four full-length novels as well as many short stories. His short story collection entitled “Morgue Dreams and Curiouser Things” is an amazingly well written collection of seventeen short horror stories.

Tony currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, Laurie, his daughter, Sara and a hundred pound Catahoula Leopard dog.

To learn more about Tony Bowman and his books, visit https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8080065.Tony_Bowman

Check out his blog at:
http://thattonybowman.blogspot.ca

5 Stars for MORGUE DREAMS AND CURIOUSER THINGS by Tony Bowman – BOOK REVIEW

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MORGUE DREAMS and CURIOUSER THINGS

Author: Tony Bowman

Type of Book: Autographed Softcover

Genre: Short Stories, Horror

Length: 111 pages

Release Date: April 2014

ISBN: 9781499230794

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free softcover copy of “Morgue Dreams and Curiouser Things’ from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a collection of short horror fiction stories. Some of the stories were published previously in various magazines, but this is the first time they have been published as a collection.

It always amazes me how much a talented writer can pack into just a few pages of text. The seventeen stories in this collection are all exceptionally well written and even though most of them are not more than a couple pages long, somehow the author is able to suck the reader into the story.

Stories such as “Everybody’s Doing It” show the dangers of modern technology as well as the vanity and folly of people in today’s superficial world and the lengths people will go to despite the potential cost to themselves.

The story “CRITICISM” begins with: “I hate stories about vampires. No, that’s not quite strong enough. I loathe and despise stories about vampires. God knows that the bookshelves are packed full of the damnable things these days, and I loathe and despise every single one.” I love this beginning. Even though the author gives away some of the plot by making this statement, I was drawn into the story. It takes talent to say so much, with such few words and talent is something that author Tony Bowman has in abundance.

Morlocks, vampires, witches, private investigators, sexy neighbors, and much more can be found in this superbly written collection of horror themed short stories.

“These are very special low fat brownies I made for the local Weight Watchers group, Ray. Each little square has over eight thousand calories and is just as addictive as a syringe full of heroin…”

With lines like the one above, readers will enjoy the author’s delightfully wicked sense of humor that goes hand-in-hand with his diabolical mind.

I rate this collection as 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend buying this book.

This is my first experience with reading anything by author, Tony Bowman, but after devouring these stories I can assure you that I will be looking to read more works by this author.

In fact, I am about to start reading VALKYRIE: THE ROAD which is a “Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Horror” which is also written by Tony Bowman.

QUOTES:

“Think about it, I just downed a gallon and a half of your pal’s blood – it’s gotta go somewhere. I don’t have a wooden leg.”

“I used the lid of a garbage can to cut off her head.”

“You wouldn’t believe how many body parts I dispose of on a daily basis. Fingers, eyes… hell, in lawn mowing season I must incinerate thirty toes a day.”

“Hilda had never liked cell phones. Leashes and leeches she would say: they tied you down and sucked away your money. What she wouldn’t have given for one of the little plastic boxes now.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Tony Bowman is the author of four full-length novels as well as many short stories. His short story collection entitled “Morgue Dreams and Curiouser Things” is an amazingly well written collection of seventeen short horror stories.

Tony currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, Laurie, his daughter, Sara and a hundred pound Catahoula Leopard dog.

To learn more about Tony Bowman and his books, visit https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8080065.Tony_Bowman

Check out his blog at:
http://thattonybowman.blogspot.ca

3 Stars for SURVIVORS: THE COMING COLLAPSE by John Wesley Rawles – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

Cover image obtained from http://www.audible.com

SURVIVORS: The Coming Collapse

Author: James Wesley Rawles

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Length: 13 hours and 41 minutes

Narrator: Dick Hill

Genre: Fiction- Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Prepper Fiction

Release Date: October 4, 2011

Series: Founders – Book Two

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook through AudiobookBlast dot com in exchange for an honest review.

This book was written as a fictional tale of what the author envisions as the inevitable collapse of the world’s economy.

I believe that the author set out to achieve two goals by writing this book. He attempted to write a compelling fiction story while also communicating to his readers tips and tricks to help them prepare for the “coming collapse.”

The problem with having two such lofty goals for a single book is that the storyline was often placed on the back-burner to go into minute detail about survival strategies. Nowhere in the story is this more readily apparent than when the author starts to go ‘on-and-on’ about guns and the individual features of each one. I understand the need for a weapon (or possibly even two) if the country were to fall into lawless chaos, however, most readers will probably not care about the make and model of their weapon. All they will care about is whether or not it is reliable and whether or not they will be able to obtain ammunition for it.

I have read quite a few different reviews for “SURVIVORS” and those reviews have been varied. It seems like readers either love this book, or they hate it. There does not seem to be a middle-ground. The major difference between my experience and the experience of the other reviewers whose comments I have read seems to be in what format they “read.” I listened to “SURVIVORS” on unabridged audiobook and I am very glad I did. I believe that I would have wanted to stop reading a few times if I was reading a paper or e-copy of this book.

The overly detailed descriptions of guns and their components struck me as tedious and boring. This is also true in the sections about religion. At times I felt like I was being told that if I was not a Christian then I would not survive. This seems simplistic to me.

I enjoyed the part of the story where Anders Lane was trying to return home from his tour of duty overseas to America and the hardships he faced on his journey.

There was another storyline that I enjoyed and that was the woman and her mother who had stockpiled seeds. (I can’t remember their names.) However, this storyline gets dropped and readers never find out if they survived or not.

The narration by Dick Hill is very well done. He has a terrific tone and his cadence and pacing are excellent.

Overall I rate this audiobook as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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James Wesley Rawles was born in California in 1960.

Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer. He is the founder and Senior Editor of SurvivalBlog.com which covers survival and preparedness topics, and has published collected material from this in two books. He also works as a survival retreat consultant and is a Constitutionalist Christian libertarian.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

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Dick Hill is an American audiobook narrator who has narrated over four hundred audiobooks.

When I first started listening to this audiobook I instantly knew I had heard Dick Hill’s voice before. He is perhaps best known as the narrator of author Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” series. He has been narrating audiobooks for almost twenty years.

To learn more about this narrator visit http://www.dickhill.com

5 Stars for FOEHAMMER by Duncan Campbell – BOOK REVIEW

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FOEHAMMER

Author: Duncan Campbell

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Horror

Length: 281 pages

Release Date: December 17, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free softcover copy of Foehammer from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Duncan Campbell has created an interesting and varied cast of unique characters. These individuals come from all over the globe and know nothing about each other, yet the fate of nations may be in their hands.

This book starts at mach speed and never lets up. Readers are taken on the ride of a lifetime. This book is impossible to put down. I was so wrapped up in the story that everything else was put on hold while I read this book.

When I read the initial description of this book on Goodreads I was interested, but, have to admit that the description does NOT do this book justice. Here is the description that is currently posted on Goodreads:

“Twenty years from now, the ice caps melt and three sinister creatures rise from the slush. A virus breaks out in a couple of Arctic naval bases, and then, even more strangely, inside the White House. The guards become animated corpses, and rescue teams are rendered helpless by a mysterious trance effect. Most US citizens seem unconcerned, but some people are watching. Underpaid academic Dr. Weaver has documents that refer to something similar happening in the time of Christ, and a group of billionaires seek him out and set him to work. With the help of a super-hacker he manages to track down a veteran who’s not susceptible to mind control. But this Sean “Jester” Solberg character is a wild card—an aggressive loner who lives with the immigrants outside the cities. The next recruit is even more unusual. Curtis Ferguson is the son of a couple of anthropologists and reportedly the world’s most powerful witch doctor. Into this bizarre, dysfunctional group is thrust Jodie Goodwin, a down-to-earth Texan girl with exceptional shooting skills. The newly formed team creep into the bunkers deep under the capital and encounter mankind’s ancient enemies. They end up fighting for survival and soon discover that their lives depend on the powers of the young, but untested, shaman.”

The above description is good and does offer a reasonable synopsis of “Foehammer” BUT this book is so much better than the synopsis leads readers to expect. Because of the complexity of the storyline and the characters, it would be impossible to summarize this reading experience in only a few words. However, I will use this review as a platform to try to explain to potential readers why I believe they should read FOEHAMMER.

Firstly, yes, this book could (technically) be considered ‘Post-Apocalyptic’ fiction, but it is definitely not the type of post-apocalyptic fiction that readers of that genre have come to expect. Instead, this book is unique and, as far as I am concerned; unique is good.

The leading characters in this book are not normal. What I mean by this is that the group of characters that Duncan Campbell has created are not your typical heroic figures. These people are flawed – some are so flawed that if you were to come across these people in everyday life, you would most likely cross the street to avoid coming anywhere near them. However, it is exactly these character flaws that make for compelling reading.

Duncan Campbell has also included social commentary into his story. When the President of the United States disappears for weeks there is very little news coverage and citizens do not seem concerned at all that the “leader of the free world” has vanished. The most watched (and reported on) events include reality television and celebrity gossip. This prompts the quote: “Maybe the rumors that the news networks didn’t have any real journalists were true.” This is a thinly veiled jab at today’s society and the skewed priorities of people in general.

This book is a mixture of horror, science fiction, action and thriller.

This is the first book in a planned trilogy and I will definitely be looking forward to reading the next two books.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Duncan Campbell was born and grew up in Yorkshire in the UK. After school he left York to study philosophy at the University of Sussex.

A huge dose of magic mushrooms whilst backpacking in Thailand resulted in a powerful hallucinogenic experience that awakened a strong interest in shamanism. The ‘spirit world’ sequences in the Foehammer books are drawn directly from his diary entries at that time.

5 Stars for MAN MADE MURDER by Z. Rider

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MAN MADE MURDER

Author: Z. Rider

Type of Book: ARC Softcover

Length: 298 pages

Genre: Horror, Paranormal Fiction

Release Date: October 13, 2015

Publisher: Dark Ride Publishing

Paperback Price: $16.99 USD (includes free ebook)

ISBN: 978-1-942234-02-9

Ebook Price: $5.99 USD

ISBN: 978-1-942234-03-6

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

** MAN MADE MURDER comes out in paperback and ebook formats October 13, 2015.

When the police are unable to track down the prime suspect in his sister Sophie’s murder, Carl Delacroix decides to take matters into his own hands.

After two years of spending all his money on private investigators, Carl is broke and desperate. But he finally has a solid lead and is now hot on the killer’s trail. He is determined to take him down.

However, “…the road is dark and full of monsters, and the one he’s chasing has a deadly bite.”

Meanwhile, the band “Man Made Murder” sets out on a cross country tour. But, before the tour even begins, the lead guitarist, Dean, has a run in with a vicious biker.

This sets off a chain of events that will change all their lives forever.

Set in 1978, this book will take readers back to an era before cell phones and at the height of what we now call the classic rock era. In fact, the author includes references to several well-known songs that are playing on the radio as Carl is driving.

A night in a roadside motel cost eleven dollars, gas was fifty-nine cents a gallon and you could buy two packages of cigarettes for less than two dollars.

If you were alive in the seventies, you will love the pop-culture references included in this book. I was six years old in 1978, but I can remember that period in time being one that was almost idyllic. People were much more trusting back then, you could even say that most people were naive to the horrors that seem so commonplace today. Murders were few and far between in most places (or if they weren’t, we just didn’t hear about them like we do in today’s news saturated world.) I love that this story is set in that era.

This is the first book of The Blood Road trilogy. Book Two – DEAD TO THE WORLD is due to be released in February 2016 and the third book: BRING OUT THE DEAD will be released in June 2016.

I thoroughly enjoyed MAN MADE MURDER. Just when I thought I had the plot all figured out, author Z. Rider threw in a terrific twist. Once I settled back into the story and was sure I knew where the story was heading – WHAM – another twist. I LOVE IT! It is rare that I am completely surprised by a plot twist, but this time I definitely did not see it coming.

This book starts off at breakneck speed and the action never lets up. In fact, even the scenes where character building is the obvious goal, fly by.

This book is one you will not want to put down. I read the entire book in twenty-four hours.

Everyone will be able to relate to at least one of the characters in the book, and readers will find themselves sometimes rooting for the character that maybe they should be hating. It takes a skilled writer to create characters that are so compelling and believable.

This book made me wish that the second book was already available. I have signed up for the author’s newsletter just so I can get my hands on the next book in the series as soon as possible.

So, if you love horror fiction and you love great characters and terrific story-building, this book is for you.

I enthusiastically rate “Man Made Murder” by Z. Rider as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Add this book to your ‘Must Read” list and mark October 13th on your calendar to be one of the first people to get your hands on a copy of this great horror book.

I have read two other books by Z. Rider – INSYLUM and SUCKERS and I loved them both. Reviews for all of Z. Rider’s books can be found on my blog.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Z. Rider is the author of SUCKERS as well as INSYLUM. The second and third books in the Blood Road trilogy will be released in 2016.

Z. Rider grew up in New Hampshire and now lives in the mountains in Tennessee with her husband and two dogs.

To learn more about her visit http://www.zriderwriter.com