There are more vampires in the world then anyone knows about. The most powerful vampire in the world is Cicatrice and he secretly rules the city of Las Vegas. The vampires are being killed off though and not just by the vampire hunters who have pledged their lives to destroy the undead. There is a supernatural serial killer on the loose and Cicatrice believes it could be the legendary and ancient Hunter Of The Dead.
A vampire civil war has begun and when there are too many vampires in the same area the hunter of the dead rises to destroy all supernatural creatures. Cicatrice decides the best way to handle it is to team up with vampire hunter Carter Price. Together they form a plan that will kill several vampires and put an end to the Hunter Of The Dead. With a bloody vampire war in full swing and Cicatrice and Carter’s apprentices falling in love, stopping the hunter may be an impossible task.
Hunter Of The Dead by Stephen Kozeniewski is a blood drenched treat for vampire fans. This horror novel creates a great spin on vampire mythology and has some great action scenes. The mythology behind the hunter is fascinating and the way he is described in this book makes him sound like he could make the four horseman run away in fear. The prologue to this book is like a self-contained story that really hooks you into reading the full book. The imagery is creepy with scenes like a ghoul eating someone and a battle between vampires and the hunter which is beautifully done. The beginning of this book would make a great horror film.
The problem I had with this book was that there was too much going on. There was enough material in this book for three books and I didn’t like how the story kept switching to different locations, characters and time periods. What I liked most was the relationship between Cicatrice and his apprentice Idi-Han and Carter Price and his assistant Nico. Whenever the focus changed to someone else I was just wanting to get back to those four. There was also a romantic relationship between Nico and Idi that could have been good but seemed too rushed. I enjoyed this book but I felt it would have been better if it just focused on Idi, Cicatrice, Nico and Carter dealing with the hunter and left out the civil war and vampire politics.
Hunter Of The Dead has the feel of a comic book. What I mean is you can easily visualize the action in your head and the story moves along at the speed of a freight train. Stephen Kozeniewski does an excellent job describing violent battle scenes. I loved how the vampires do severe damage to each other such as breaking bones and crushing organs only to heal instantly. It also has some good humor to it such as when a human tied to a table is offered as a birthday cake to a vampire who takes a bite and then offers all the other vampires a bite. It also has some moments of great horror such as when a recently turned vampire realizes that she is eating her father without knowing it. Hunter Of The Dead is a book that vampire fans should not pass up.
Amy Koko was married for 27 years and had 4 kids. Her life was pretty good but suddenly everything came crashing down around her. Her husband announced that he was having an affair with a younger woman. She tries to save her marriage but it doesn’t work out and Amy’s once happy life starts to fall apart and her future isn’t so bright. There’s Been A Change Of Plans: A Memoir about Divorce, Dating and Delinquents in Mid-Life by Amy Koko is a book about a woman recreating herself after a devastating divorce.
The reason I was interested in reading this book was because I was close to the same age as Amy and I liked the idea that this was a book about starting a new life. Reaching middle age, I wanted to see how she was able to recreate herself. The best part of this book is Amy’s honesty, she doesn’t sugarcoat anything, you hear the things in her life that make her sad, but you get to laugh with her also.
In the beginning she comes across as unlikable. She hints that the divorce may have been her fault. I think this is something people go through when blindsided by an affair. She mentions pushing her husband to get married, over the years she didn’t always look her best and she regrets dropping out of college. She also mentions after she found out her husband cheated, she saw all the signs that he was still cheating but overlooked it because she wasn’t sure what to do without him. At this point I felt sorry for her and it got even worse when her husband tells her that the other woman thinks she’s a hag and then she has a revelation at the divorce lawyer’s office that no one cared about her predicament.
While There’s Been A Change Of Plans has it’s share of sad moments, it’s a positive book. Amy manages to come back from the despair of her divorce and you get to be along for the ride as she goes back to school, starts a new career as a writer, finds a new job and starts dating again. This book has a lot of funny stories in it and the funniest one was when Amy goes to a party with a doctor who can’t handle alcohol. When I read this I thought it seemed to unreal, doctors don’t act that way, but it’s still a funny story. The part that surprised me most was Amy pointing out that she is not bitter towards her ex-husband, I think most people would be, but Amy puts her life in perspective and points out that she had 4 great kids with him.
There’s Been A Change Of Plans is a rare book, because it’s heartbreaking, funny and hopeful at the same time. People who would get the most out of this book are people who are going through a divorce and are trying to start over. This is also a good book for people who have reached middle age and are looking to recreate themselves. What Amy Koko has done here is show you that when something devastating happens in your life, it’s not the end, you can build yourself a new beginning and laugh while you do it.
How did you do research for your book?
I did my research in the best possible way…I lived it! I guess that’s one of the best things about writing a memoir, no need to sit at your computer googling facts or figures. Just write it from your memory and from your heart.
What made you write a book about your divorce?
When I was going through the process I remember sitting on my bed feeling totally alone as if no one could understand what I was going through. Then I read a book about a woman whose husband had left her and her 2 children and I thought, “Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere!” Turns out that woman was able to return to her Park Avenue apartment and her job on a top rated television show, so, you know, I really couldn’t connect. I wanted my book to be a ray of hope to women who felt like I did, alone, scared and unsure of the future.
What advice would you give budding writers?
Easy, WRITE. READ. WRITE. Don’t overthink every line, every word, every period or comma. Get it out there and believe me there will be plenty of time for editing. PLENTY. When you are not writing, read. I reread my favorite authors to give me inspiration and get me in the mood daily.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?
Do I get writer’s block? Yes and I fear it the way some people fear heights or elevators. When I sit at the computer and no words come, I panic. For a moment. Then I read something by Nora Ephron or maybe a passage from Bridget Jones Diary and force myself to sit down and power through. Some days nothing useable appears, but other days, oh…that is the magic.
What is your next project?
My passion now is to help other women who are going through this gut wrenching experience, so along with a colleague of mine, I am facilitating a writing retreat titled “Writing Your Way Through Divorce” to show how writing can help gain clarity and confidence throughout the process. Also,
I am currently about ¾ of the way through my first fiction novel and am having a blast with it. I don’t know what is going to happen until I sit down and write it! Still, I believe that even though it’s fiction, we write what we know, so of course this novel is about a midlife woman who reinvents herself in the Big Apple with a lot of laughs along the way.