Be Careful What You Joust For

The land of Pentavia has been peaceful for some time but it’s a fragile peace that may soon fall apart. A jousting tournament is about to take place in Treland and the greatest knights from all over the world will be there. The stakes are high as the winner will have the power to declare or prevent a war from happening.

House Hornbolt is hosting the tournament and the family is about to go through some major changes. The oldest son will be fighting in the tournament and is favored to win, the second born son will be taking an oath to be a priest in the name of Arwin which he actually wants no part of and the eldest daughter will be married off to one of the eligible suitors competing in the joust. There’s a lot riding on the results of this joust and there are forces at work behind the scenes that’s affecting everyone involved. The only thing we know for sure is that the world will never be the same when the winner of the tournament is crowned.

The description I just gave for Be Careful What You Joust For by Ryan Hauge and Ivy Smoak isn’t a very good one. There is a lot going on in this book and if I wanted to mention everything about the plot this review would be 10,000 words. This book has a complex plot set in a complex fantasy world and no matter what kind of story you like to read you will find something in this tale that you’ll like. A story about love, power, religion, politics, family, tradition and loyalty, it’s all in this book. I love how the beginning of this epic adventure hooks you by stating that each respectable joust should have at least three deaths.

My favorite part of this book is how members of the Hornbolt family seem to be playing roles in society but in reality are something different. Isoloda is the wife to Garrion and unknown to anyone else she is also a crime lord going by the name Lady Marsilia. Her son Terric is being forced into the priesthood while he really wants to be like his brother Marcus and become a knight. We also have Garrion who has a secret and unbeknownst to him his wife suspects him of a murder and a theft that could change the whole kingdom. The Hornbolt family all have secrets they are keeping from each other and they are still trying to stick to their traditions. Beneath the surface they don’t fully embrace those traditions but despite that they still love each other.

If I had any complaint about this book it would be that it’s a little light on action. That being said I was so into everyone’s story and enjoying the fantasy world that Ryan and Ivy built that the lack of action was easily overlooked. I also loved the fact that the story didn’t go where I thought it would go. The characters are not black and white, at times they act like heroes and at other times they act like villains and that’s what makes this book so entertaining. That’s also what makes this fantasy feel like reality, no person is always good and no person is always bad. The ending of this book is left open and I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel.


Purrfection: How to Achieve Balance and Happiness Through Your Cat

Do you have trouble with stress? Is it hard to relax at the end of a busy day? There are lots of things you can do to unwind but the best medicine for dealing with the everyday craziness of your life is to buy a cat. Unless of course you already have one…or two…or three. If you have one you’re going to want to learn how to use your little furball to achieve a happier more peaceful life. Purrfection: How to Achieve Balance and Happiness Through Your Cat by Sophie Macheteau is your guide to a better relationship with your cat and a happier you.

I saw this book on Netgalley and noticed it was dealing with subjects that I had a lot of interest in, such as yoga, cats and mindfulness. There were also several cute pictures of cats and a history of cats that got me interested. This is a short book but it contains some great information on our feline friends. You will learn how to understand your cat’s body language, what their purring really means and it dives deep into what a cat’s meow is telling you. Cats are smarter than you think and this book gets into how smart they really are. Even as I write this one of my cats is watching me type and making sure that I don’t make any typos.

Another thing that I thought was interesting about this book was how it looks at places where cats are revered for their greatness. There is a section on an Island in Japan where the cats outnumber the humans and a cat cafe in Paris France. It even gets into yoga poses to do with your cats along with crafts to keep you busy and a quiz to see how well you know your furry friend. This book is a must have for cat lovers and its the type of book that you would want a physical copy of rather than an e-book. That way you would have the purrfect book to start a conversation with when people come to your home.


Wolf Hunt

George and Lou made their living as criminals. Usually they were hired to rough up someone who owes a mobster money or something along those lines. This time the job they were given seems pretty easy, they have to drive across Florida and deliver a man in a cage to a mob boss. There is a catch, the man in the cage is a werewolf, but who would believe in something like that?

It’s a simple job, they just have to follow the instructions: don’t open the cage, don’t reach into the cage and don’t throw anything into the cage. Surprisingly enough things don’t go according to planned, the werewolf escapes and goes on a killing spree. This werewolf named Ivan can change from human to wolf at will and he has an insatiable blood lust. George and Lou never believed in werewolves but they do now and they may be the only ones who can stop the carnage.

Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand is everything you could ask for in a horror novel, it’s a simple story that’s carried by great dialogue, dark humor and  moments of nail-biting horror. What really sets this book apart from other horror novels is how the story is told, it doesn’t rely on bloody action packed scenes (even though it does have that) to keep the reader interested, it holds your attention by how the characters interact with each other.

After reading this book I was looking at reviews for it and one bad review that I saw said that the characters were boring and there wasn’t much information given on them. This person must not have paid attention to the writing and probably didn’t read the whole book. There’s lots of detail given on what makes the characters tick. It’s just revealed through dialogue rather than having a third person description on what the character is like. As I was reading this book I found myself thinking that Quentin Tarantino could make an excellent movie out of this since I always thought the best parts of his work was the dialogue.

Another thing I liked about this book is how the story gets more complex as it moves along. We start with three main characters, we then add more characters including a woman named Michelle who gets into the action by accident but then decides she wants to go along for the ride. My favorite scene in this book was when Lou and George meet Ivan in a bar to work out a deal and things don’t go well. In particular I liked how Ivan gives one of the people in the bar an ultimatum and what happens when the person makes his decision. Ivan may be insane and evil but even he seems to have a moral code.

While I had some issues with this story which I can’t talk about because it would spoil the book, I thought it was a pretty solid read. I love how Jeff Strand’s books combine humor and horror and Wolf Hunt is no exception. I love werewolf stories and I’m happy to see that there is a sequel to this book. I just hope Mr. Strand can recapture everything what made the first book so much fun.

Press Release: 100+ Black Women in Horror

Awesome book, and I’m not just just saying it because I have a little article in it:

100+ Black Women in Horror

100+ Black Women in Horror contains the biographies of over one hundred black women who write horror, 100+ Black Women in Horror is a reference guide, a veritable who’s who of female horror writers from the African Diaspora. This volume is an expansion of the original 2014 book 60 Black Women in Horror.

February is African American History Month in the United States as well as Women in Horror Month (WiHM). 100+ Black Women in Horror is a result of the intersection between the two celebrations. It consists of an alphabetical listing of the women with biographies, photos, and web addresses, as well as interviews with 17 of the included women and an essay by David Watson on LA Banks and Octavia Butler. It is not limited to African American authors, but includes women from all over the diaspora!

100+ Black Women in Horror

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Submission Call: Tech Horror KILL SWITCH

Looking forward to this one:

2018 Horror Anthology

KilSwitch2front.pngKILL SWITCH / Edited by Dan Shaurette

“The Future is Broken.” – Black Mirror

What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future? When technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we have created? Artificial intelligence, robotics, bionics and cybernetics, clones, and virtual reality. These are a few of my favorite things. The technological singularity is fast approaching, and post-humanity is a frighteningly dark future.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying. Secondly, the technology should be front and center, not just a deus ex machina. Whether it be a modern technology we are creating now with a purpose yet fully realized, or some new horror as yet to be discovered. We are looking for stories in the same vein as…

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Dracula: The Modern Prometheus

Dracula: The Modern Prometheus is a retelling of both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stroker’s Dracula with a few new twists by Rafael Chandler. I’m not going to spend time describing the story here because if you’ve read Frankenstein and Dracula you already know it. The reason you would want to get this book is to find out how the author put an original spin on these two literary classics.

I got this book off of Netgalley, what drew me to it was seeing that it was a combination of two horror classics that I love. I also thought it was interesting that the author put the names of the original writers on his book followed by his own. When you first start reading this book it’s obvious that Rafael Chandler wrote it as a labor of love and  he has great affection for the source material along with the time period both books were written in. The language used, the way the characters are presented and the way the book is written makes it feel like the book was written in the 1800’s.

The best part about this book was that it reminded me how much I love the source material and I loved seeing the changes to both that Rafael made. The worst part of the book is that some parts are too close to the source material. There were points that I felt bored reading it because I felt like I’ve heard it before and knew what was coming. A lot of the dialogue between the characters could have been cut and more time should have been spent on Dracula and the monster.

All in all though if you love these two classics then Rafael Chandler’s book is something you are going to want to read. I enjoyed the fact that Harker, The Monster and Dracula were all female. I also liked the changes Rafeal made to the material and how he blended both stories.  The book may have benefited a little by having the author put more of an original spin on it but there was enough of his own voice here to keep me reading. When I finished this book I felt the need to go reread Dracula and Frankenstein and look for an original work by Rafael Chandler.



Blood Of Dracula’s Castle

I’ve been wanting to write a running commentary as I watched a cheesy movie but I haven’t taken the time to do it. Sometimes bad movies can be a lot of fun to watch if you’re in the write mood, especially bad horror movies. One time horror author Douglas Clegg said that horror is the one genre of film where watching a bad movie can be just as much fun as watching a good movie. He’s right, I love trying to find bad horror movies to watch and luckily there are plenty to choose from. This week I decided to watch Blood Of Dracula’s Castle off of Comet TV. If you’re not familiar with Comet TV I urge you to check it out, they really have some great stuff on but keep in mind that this is coming from someone who admittedly has bad taste in movies. Which reminds me I have to set my dvr up to record King Kong Lives when its on.

Blood Of Dracula’s Castle is a 1969 movie that was directed by the late great Al Adamson. We have Alex D’Arcy in the roll of Dracula, Paula Raymond as Countess Townsend and Horror movie legend John Carradine as George The Butler. The movie opens with a woman driving down the highway as a catchy little tune that seems to be called The Next Train Out. It sounds like a song that would have been popular in this time. So far the movie isn’t looking like much of a horror movie. The lighting looks bad and I’m already wondering what was the budget for this movie? $10? Though I have to say the convertible the woman is driving looks pretty cool. At this point in the movie I’m envisioning people in 1969 sitting in a drive in movie theater and rocking out to this song or rolling their eyes, one or the other.

The woman finally gets out of her car and goes to take a walk in the woods she then promptly screams and faints. She is then taken away by Dracula’s evil assistant named Mango. Mango doesn’t look very threatening to me which makes me wonder if maybe the woman fainted because she had a bad mango for lunch. I mean looking at this woman and looking at Mango I just think this woman probably could have taken him in a fight.

After the fainting scene we get the opening credits and the movie switches over to a bunch of dolphins at a place that looks like Sea World. At this point I’m wondering what the hell does this have to do with Dracula? Are they vampire dolphins? There is a walrus too, maybe he’s a vampire. After a few minutes of this we finally see Dracula sitting by the fireplace in his castle with Countess Townsend. They’re talking about the lease on Dracula’s Castle. I can’t see Dracula worrying about a lease but I guess even he has to pay the bills. We finally get to see George The Butler as he is taking a blood sample from the woman who ate a bad mango.  she faints again and I can’t help to roll my eyes, gosh what a wimp.

The next scene is Dracula and the countess sampling the mango woman’s blood in wine glasses. They say its delicious I guess it’s always fun to have new blood. There blood is served up by John Carradine as George The Butler. Throughout this movie George always looks like he’s trying not to crack up. Which makes me wonder did he beak out in laughter every time Al Adamson called cut?  Did he give the guy playing Dracula any advice since he played the role at least 3 times that I can think of.

We then get to Dracula and the Countess checking out the women they have chained up in their dungeon and they start talking about them like they’re bottles of wine. Dracula and the Mrs. seem to really be loving life. The dialogue in this movie is actually pretty good, this may not be a good movie but I get the impression that the people making it were having a good time. As I’m writing this I keep thinking of that Next Train Out song from the opening of the movie, guess that’s going to stick with me awhile.

We’re still in the middle of a long scene in the dungeon. Dracula is so nice to reward Mango he gives him one of the women chained up in the dungeon. The woman needs to work on her screaming and Mango needs to work on acting scarier. We then hear Dracula telling the newbie in the dungeon that he and the countess are vampires but really prefer to be called the living dead. Nice to know Dracula has standards. In the background there is some really weird music playing. It reminds me of when you go to a children’s museum and you use the rubber sandals to tap out a song on a big set of plastic pipes. We then get a shot of Dracula and the countess going to bed in their caskets, they both say good night, love lives at Dracula’s castle.

Now we have a scene of a guy being chased through the woods by some people with dogs. Early on Dracula kept talking about a guy named Johnny so I’m thinking this must be Johnny. Just as I’m starting to get bored and wonder what the people watching this movie in the 60’s were thinking, the guy on the run comes across a woman in a bikini by a stream. He grabs her and drowns the screaming woman in the river, what the hell was that all about? I’m also wondering at this point why don’t any of these women try to fight their attackers? I’m I supposed to think women at that time didn’t believe in fighting. I guess that’s why they call them scream queens. We eventually find out that this man is indeed Johnny but not before we see him kill a guy and push a car over a cliff. He then gives an evil laugh, I guess killing gives you a good sense of humor.

We then have Johnny talking to George at the castle and he says that the full moon makes him do things he doesn’t want to do. He’s killing people in the daylight so what’s he doing when the moon is full? Does he collect donations for the Salvation Army? I can see for a murderer that may be something you don’t want to do. We then get to Dracula’s landlord visiting with Dracula and the Mrs. The countess is talking about how dangerous the world is and they don’t go out much. I can see how the social turmoil of the 60’s may be something vampires want to avoid.

Dracula was given some bad news the landlords want them  out and its up to Johnny to kill them. We also have Dracula saying the secret to staying young is drinking the blood from young people. Then the countess says that they are hoping that someone someday will invent a synthetic blood so they can obey the law again and not kill, hopefully they are still around when Charlaine Harris gives us True Blood.

We then have a bunch of scenes with the landlord and his girl friend walking around Dracula’s castle at night. Eventually the landlord and the girl friend get chained up in the basement. You knew things weren’t going to go well when they decided to kick Dracula out. There sure is a lot of talking in this movie, the writer must have had a really long script. I wonder what movie goers from the 60’s were thinking as they watched this movie.

We have a couple of really long scenes here in the dungeon one with Johnny threatening a woman with a knife and one with rats running around the dungeon with the female captives in the dungeon screaming in terror. Maybe they’re just screaming because they don’t think they’re getting paid enough to shoot this movie. Things are getting really weird in the movie now as one of the captives are taken outside to be sacrificed by being burned at the stake for the great god Luna. This movie may only be an hour and a half but at this point it feels like about three hours. We then finally get to the end of the movie and a dinner party given by Dracula.

It’s kind of funny but as we get to the action packed fight scene at the end the music doesn’t match what’s going on and it looks more like a dance competition then a fight. Dracula and his wife get tied up and it’s up to Mango to save them. This is supposed to be the exciting climax but its more of an anti-climax as Mango doesn’t do a very good job being a hero. What can you expect from a guy named Mango.

This movie really ended with a wimper but there was some really funny scenes in it. If you actually read this whole thing then I’m in shock since this is pretty much just me randomly typing as I watch a bad movie. If you want to see a sample of this movie then check out the youtube link  for the trailer and let me know in the comments what bad movies you love:.