Tag Archives: urban fantasy

30 Days of Night, Vol. 1 (book review)

30 Days of Night, Vol. 130 Days of Night, Vol. 1 by Steve Niles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think it would have been better if it stayed just a graphic novel.

I never have read the comic/graphic novel version of this. I listened to the audiobook and I thought it couldn’t make a difference, but I think in the end it does. It seems like this story relies on visual imagery that can’t really be placed in audio.

The story itself is very short, easy to listen to and at the time was a bit ahead of other things like this in the genre. However now decades later it gets lost to stories that are better and more refined. This isn’t on the author though, he did great.

The story itself is a simple thirty days in Barrow Alaska, vampires and a few survivors trying to make it out. I am curious with the sequels how they pan out, but this story itself is a good, self-contained vampire urban fantasy story that would fit in with White Wolf’s gaming system.

Like I said, not a bad story, but you probably get further and enjoy it more if you read the comic/graphic novel.

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The Man in the High Castle (book review)

The Man in the High CastleThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 9h 52m

This is the best Philip K. Dick story I have read to date… but that isn’t saying much. There are some slight spoilers.

I had started reading this after watching the Amazon TV series which I really enjoy. To be honest that is the only thing that got me reading another PKD story. I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but sadly it isn’t even close.

It is still an alternative history, the Nazi and Japanese won the war and have split up the old USA. “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy” is not a series of movie reels but a single book written by an author who consults the I Ching. It is read and known about publicly (instead of smuggled around and changing people when they see it). It really isn’t as much of a focal point as it is in the Amazon Prime show.

PKD’s problematic writing is on display. The characters are half done, they seem flat with not really interesting, the one exception is Nobusuke Tagomi who is also my favorite character in the streaming show. He is the most three dimensional character and the most entertaining (also the one I can relate to the most).

Once again though PKD uses more racist undertones then I am comfortable with. Even when its not from someone’s viewpoint he uses what I would consider unacceptable. He was even writing everyone in the Pacific States with ENGRISH accents (or maybe that was just the narrator, maybe the audiobook is worse with a narrator who does this). I realize this was written 40+ years ago, but I had a problem with Lovecraft and his racist words and those were another 30 years before PKDs.

The world isn’t filled out very well, its very much just broad strokes and to be honest some of the world building doesn’t make sense. However, I am a very different type of person I think and it could just be my filters are different.

Like I said though, the characters are cardboard cutouts for the most part. Juliana is a horribly written character. I haven’t been pleased by any of PKD’s women characters so far, but she is by far the worst. A harpyish screeching creature that can’t handle thing when they go bad. Much different then the Amazon Prime version of her.

The worst part (and this is a spoiler) is that the book ends before any resolution. I know he said he was working on a sequel, but it has no ending or no purpose.

Stick with the Amazon Prime streaming show… WAY WAY BETTER. I am glad to have read it, but only because I am a completionist.

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Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues (book review)

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues (White Trash Zombie, #2)Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 9h 9m

Angel is even more fun to listen to in the second book.

The white trash zombie trope doesn’t get old. The story takes up not long after the first book. Elements of the first book reappear in unexpected ways.

Diana Rowland’s storytelling gets better by the book. Angel has moved beyond and grown up since the first book and she didn’t magically end up back in the same situation. In fact the world opens up in some unexpected ways.

You get to meet more zombies, more baddies and some baddies turn out that they may not be so bad. I am happily anticipating the next book even now.

Go read it!

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The X-Files: Cold Cases

The X-Files: Cold CasesThe X-Files: Cold Cases by Joe Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 4h 4m


This is definitely the X-files you grew up with, in both the good and the bad.

The Good: All the people are exactly like I remember and are voiced by the actors who played them in the series. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and all the others do an excellent job voicing their parts. The same tensions exist and the same personalities, etc.

The book itself reads (or in this case sounds) exactly like the series. The writing is entertaining, and has the same feeling. It is like they just took up where they left off more than ten years ago. I do find this partially good and partially bad.

The Bad: The bad mostly falls into personal likes and dislikes. There is one single technical issue I disliked though, that would be the environmental sounds. It seemed very much on an audio stage and not sounding like it was filmed in an actual place. The echoes were off, there were seemingly missing ambience sounds.

This might just be a personal preference though, I haven’t heard a single audiobook who approaches it with multiple actors and using sounds instead of reading descriptions that has worked for me.

I stopped watching the X-files religiously as the seasons went on, especially the last season or two of Mulder and Scully (and I didn’t really watch it after they left). Not because there was anything technically bad about the acting or writing, but because I was tired of aliens.

The height of the show for me was when it was a “monster of the week” show with some plotlines that ran through the whole show. I didn’t even mind some of the alien/black virus/black eyes situation.

However, I stopped watching when it became all about a single government conspiracy with all knowing bad guys responsible for all the different things. I would have been ok if it was scattered conspiracy, but an all knowing invasion of aliens, followed with movies that only followed the same was frustrating.

This book does the exact same thing. There is one “episode” that deals with a monster of the week type situation (revisiting one of my favorite episodes) and it was great, the remaining episodes were very much one long alien conspiracy hunt. I won’t say anymore, I just want that out there to warn others if they don’t want to have to deal with it.

Overall though it was worth it, I got it on sale and I did mildly enjoy it. I will probably try any other book that comes out in the series, but I would rather it be done in a novelized/audible format and not that multi-actor/fake sounds setup.

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Succubus! (Hell High #1)Succubus! by Michael-Scott Earle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 1h 33m

I picked up this book as something quick to listen to between two larger audio books. I figured I would listen a few minutes at a time, but I just ended up listening to the whole thing. I think I picked it up for under $5 and it was worth the risk.

The story itself centers on a senior in high school and the things he sees in that high school. The story involves monsters, demons, devils and a hot succubus girl. I will admit, about 10 minutes into the story I was hooked and found myself enjoying it.

The ending is too abrupt (but it was at a stopping point). This is to be expected since it is only a 90 minute book. I just found out that there are two more books that are about 3 times the size of this book (over four hours each). I will end up picking those up.

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My Life as a White Trash Zombie

My Life as a White Trash Zombie (White Trash Zombie, #1)My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 9h 5m

If you like books like the Sookie Stackhouse novels, this is the book for you.

The book is an entry into the world of A White Trash Zombie series and it is a success. You get to know about Angel, a young white trash woman who is obviously now a zombie. The story is about her coming to terms with her new life, learning what its like to be responsible and to take control. Her new powers as a zombie come with a price though, something she can’t walk away from.

That is probably my favorite part about the book though. It shows how she grows up, and learns that she is in control of her own destiny and that she is worth something.

A definite must read!

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Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin #8)

Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin, #8)Fallow by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 6h 56m

This book is on the top of my list for this series (and once again this is an audible book).

I very much enjoyed the crew going back to Fallow, the place where Griffin was raised. You get to meet his mother again, other family members, townsfolk and an evil that seems to have befallen it.

I suspect part of the reason I loved this book is that all the characters have developed in each book. While sometimes Whyborne’s tendancy to whine does grate, even that changes in each book. I love a world that evolves.

I also love that the main couple has stayed a couple and have developed the relationship more fully. This is probably because I am also in a M/M couple, but you don’t get to see that very often and when it happens it is wonderful.

Now, I also want to address the narrator Julian Simmons. In the beginning I wasn’t too sure about him, but I found out recently that Whyborne & Griffin Book 1 was his first narration for an audible book. With that being the case I have to say he has done pretty good and he is only getting better.

Overall, I can’t recommend enough that everyone read this. I love the romance, horror, urban fantasy and lovecraftian feel of it!

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Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin #7)

Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin, #7)Maelstrom by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 7h 55m

Every book gets better.

I keep thinking that Ms. Hawk has hit the ceiling on her writing, but she makes sure there is always more to enjoy. This time it involves preparations of the wedding of Christine and Kander, an arrival of a codex that Whybone must investigate and the theft of a map.

We get to see what makes Whyborne tick more this book. He is suspicious of his father’s generosity to his friend Christine and husband Griffen. He hates his husband’s new fangled car, and is more paranoid then ever. This gives the reader some insight of how Whyborne’s mental state works, and his insecurity when dealing with his father.

The audible reading of the book has improved greatly over the last seven books. The only time I find myself cringing is when accents are being used now. This is a huge improvement, one that makes it much easier to listen to.

The ending of the book is especially satisfying for me, by allowing Whyborne to keep growing as a person, as he comes to terms with some of his own foibles, and a realization that he needs to work on them.

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Bloodline (Whyborne & Griffin #5)

Bloodline (Whyborne & Griffin #5)Bloodline by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 9h 55m

Audiobook only!

This is the fifth installment of the series I have read, and the fifth time the story has just gotten better. Ms. Hawk’s writing has gotten tighter, and the reader has gotten much better with intonation and cadence with the book.

The story itself is very interesting, you get to meet additional members of Whyborne’s family, including some unexpected members. The struggle against a new threat from a couple of unexpected directions.

Where the last book had a lot to do with Christine and some additional items on Griffin, this focused mostly on Whyborne. I enjoyed every page of it, but I do have to say the series as a whole will do better overall if Ms. Hawk focuses on the the group as the whole. I can’t talk about specifics due to spoilers, but I love his mom and I do like how Ms. Hawk has made Whyborne’s father more and more three dimensional.

Overall, I definitely recommend it as a read!
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Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin #4)

Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin)Necropolis by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 7h 58m

This is for the Audio Book only!

As I started the fourth book in the series I had pretty high hopes, and Jordan Hawk cleared that goal with some room to spare.

In order to avoid spoilers all I will say is you get a glimpse of the dirty, dusty and rough desert. You see Whyborne grapple with the “horrors” of living in a tent. You get a bit more background on Griffon (there can never be enough background). You get some good sex scenes. Finally you get a lot more background on Christine.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Christine when this all started. I wasn’t sure if she was going to fit into the stereotypical woman with gay guy best friends. However she has been flushed out and given a pretty cool backstory. I look forward to more about her now as well.

Oh, on a down note, Christine sounds like a catty gay guy sometimes when the narrator reads her part. I am not sure if its on purpose or maybe just something I am hearing, but that was the only negative.

If you liked the first three, definitely you want to read this.

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