Supernatural: The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber (Book Review)

The Unholy Cause is book five in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the first of these books to be written by author Joe Schreiber. The monster-hunting duo return for yet another adventure in this unique tale, which takes place at an unknown point during season 5.

 

The Winchester brothers are led to Mission’s Ridge in Georgia, where some civil war re-enactments have become a bit too realistic. With two dead civilians and a pack of demons invading the town, can Sam and Dean figure out how replica weapons are killing people, before they end up arrested by the local Sheriff, Jack Daniels?

 

Favourite Quote:

“War is hell.” – Phil Oiler (p109)

 

At 2 out of 5 stars The Unholy Cause is ok, personally I’m not a huge fan of war re-enactment style novels, and since I’m not American the content doesn’t really appeal to me. However, it’s Sam and Dean Winchester on the hunt of the Supernatural, so I kept an open mind. The story did enough to keep me reading, and I kept waiting for something interesting or exciting to happen, such as a jump-scare scene or super-creepy monster, but sadly nothing of any real substance happened. In truth it was a little boring for me, especially compared with some of the other Supernatural books, and I can’t say I’m all that keen to re-read this one anytime soon.

Joe Schreiber doesn’t offer much in the way of backstory about the Winchester brothers, but since the only people likely to read these books are people who are fans of the TV show, this probably isn’t much of an issue. As far as characterisation is concerned Sam and Dean are portrayed very well, and the overall pace of the novel is quite swift, so I found this to be a relatively quick read. My final negative point is that we don’t know when exactly in the overall timeline this book is set, only that it takes place during season five, and this is a small, niggly detail that the perfectionist in me hates.

 

Anyone interested in war re-enactment style fantasy novels, can check out The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber here via this link to Amazon.co.uk.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon

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Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Book Review)

Heart of the Dragon is book four of the TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the third book to be written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. The monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, take on another action packed adventure in Heart of the Dragon, which takes place during season 5, between episodes 8 (Changing Channels) and 9 (The Real Ghostbusters).

 

In this Japanese themed story, the boys travel to San Francisco, where an enemy previously thought defeated by both John Winchester, 20 years earlier, and the Campbell family, 40 years ago, has once again returned.

At their Angel friend, Castiel’s insistence the boys drive to California to hunt a demon that has returned to wreak havoc during the Demon-Angel war, which for those familiar with the backstory was accidentally initiated by both Dean, and then later on by Sam’s selfish handiwork – check out season 4 for further details on that.

 

While I enjoyed learning more about Samuel, Deanna and Mary Campbell, as they took down a vampire nest and faced off against the Heart of the Dragon during its first incarnation. This novel is really one story, split into three separate parts, and due to the various different time periods, there are a significant number of secondary characters. As a result Sam and Dean don’t really have that big of a part to play in the overall narrative, and aren’t in the story as much as I would like.

At 2 out of 5 stars I found the Heart of the Dragon to be an enjoyable and interesting enough book, which manages to successfully tie together a very basic story, which is told over numerous different decades. It also provides fans of the show with additional details of the Winchester brother’s family history, which we haven’t previously been offered elsewhere. However, it has a surprising lack of Sam and Dean – as well as only an extremely brief cameo from Castiel – and as most fans will know, the brother’s fraught relationship is a large part of the TV series. Therefore, this book doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.

 

If anyone wishes to check out The Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido, they can do so via this link to the Amazon.co.uk product page.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

 

Harvest Moon by J.D. Oliva (ARC Review)

I received an ARC of Harvest Moon from author J.D. Oliva and have voluntarily chosen to write this review.

In hindsight, this supernatural police procedural probably wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but having received an unexpected ARC I decided to check it out.

The plot seemed to be a little confusing at first, over whether the murderer is a copycat, or a man previously believed to be dead. Despite the witness testimony that the supposed murderer had been shot in the head five years earlier, there appeared to be some debate around whether it was possible that he might have survived. No real detail was given to back up or explain why this doubt existed and had I not already seen the werewolf on the book’s cover, I’d have given up reading. However, I persevered and somehow made it all the way to the end of this crazy story.

The novel follows ex-cop Jackson Shane, an unhinged alcoholic, who has been brought out of retirement and asked to assist in a strange murder investigation, which has links to the serial killer he supposedly killed five years before.

The book was ok, but a little boring and confusing in places. The somewhat tedious language wasn’t helped by the countless spelling and grammar errors littered throughout the story – I counted at least 125 – so the book could definitely do with the heavy hand and red pen, of a good editor and proofreader.

I’m giving this 2 out of 5 stars because I made it all the way to the end, and while it wasn’t really to my liking it may be suitable for those who like their police procedurals. Anyone interested can pick up a copy of Harvest Moon from Amazon.co.uk here.

Hunger Games: Book 3 – Mockingjay (Book Review)

Katniss Everdeen’s defiance in the arena during the 74th Annual Hunger Games has had unexpected repercussions. She has inadvertently sparked a rebellion against the Capitol, which has in turn resulted in the destruction of her home District. While those in support of the war have rescued her from almost certain death in the Quarter Quell, her best friend Gale Hawthorne has saved the lives of her family.

Now sheltering in a secret underground bunker, hidden beneath the remains of District 13, Katniss must transform herself into the Mockingjay, spokesperson for the rebels and the revolution. Especially if she has any hope of rescuing Peeta, who has been captured and tortured by the Capitol.

But which side will win this atrocious war?

 

Mockingjay is the third, and thankfully final, novel in the Hunger Games trilogy from Suzanne Collins. I knew going into this trilogy that the books weren’t really to my taste, but the third novel is so dull and monotonous that I struggled to finish it.  Gone are the actual Hunger Games events which provoked the action and entertainment during the first two instalments of the series, instead we are subjected to a tedious rebellion in which rebel forces hide out underground and do very little to attack the Capitol. At 1 out of 5 stars this is a very slow paced and disappointing end to the Hunger Games trilogy.

 

Anyone genuinely interested in these novels can pick up a copy of Mockingjay from Amazon.co.uk here. Or alternatively, you can get all of the movies on DVD via this link.

 

See also:

Book 1: The Hunger Games

Book 2: Catching Fire

Supernatural: Bone Key (Book Review)

Bone Key is the third book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the second written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. Once again we join the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, on another action packed adventure. Bone Key takes place during season 3, between episodes 8 (A Very Supernatural Christmas) and 9 (Malleus Maleficarum).

 

In this spooky tale, the boys travel to Key West, Florida, where some famous ghosts are terrorising tourists and murdering people. Can Sam and Dean figure out what’s causing the spirits to become supercharged, and save the day?

 

First of all, with numerous references to prior events, Bone Key isn’t suitable for anyone new to Supernatural, and those unaware of recent plot points which play major roles in the first three seasons of the TV show. Spoilers may ruin the suspense if you intend to watch the show at a later time.

However, for everyone else, this book has a creepy doll reminiscent of Chucky (Child’s Play) or Annabelle (The Conjuring) which I always find very unsettling, As well as famous ghosts, such as Ernest Hemingway and Harry Truman.

With lots of different characters, I found it a little difficult to keep track of everyone, and as far as story goes I’m not sure that it’s quite as strong as Keith’s earlier book, Nevermore. Thankfully though, this time around he manages to get Dean’s eye colour correct, and the characterisations of both Sam and Dean appear much more accurate.

It has a few adult themes that were somewhat questionable, such as the guy who attempts to sleep with numerous women, and unknowingly takes photos of them, just to get back at his ex.

Anyhow, at 3 out of 5 stars I found this book to be enjoyable, but not necessarily a story that appealed to my particular tastes. It had a slowish pace and didn’t have quite as much action as some of the other Supernatural books. If anyone wishes to check it out you can pick yourself up a copy of Bone Key from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Horns by Joe Hill (Book Review)

Almost a year after Merrin Williams is found raped and murdered; the main suspect in her death and boyfriend, Ignatius Parrish wakes up to discover that he has horns growing out of his forehead.

At first Ig thinks he’s suffering from hallucinations due to a brain tumour, or some other terminal disease, but soon discovers that despite the fact that his horns are clearly visible to the people around him, no-one pays them much attention. Instead, they inadvertently reveal to him their deepest, darkest, most evil thoughts and desires, almost as if they are requesting his permission to commit atrocious acts or confess their darkest sins.

The horns provide a unique insight into the minds of the people around him, providing answers to what really happened the night the love of his life was murdered, and Ig sets out for revenge on those responsible for Merrin’s death.

 

Favourite Quote:

“The devil is always there to help those who are ready to sin, which is another word for ‘live’. His phone lines are open. Operators are standing by.” – Ignatius Martin Parrish (p254)

 

Unlike Joe Hill’s previous novel ‘Heart-shaped Box’, at 4 out of 5 stars Horns manages to captivate the reader, as it flows neatly along. It delves into a simple notion that most people have longed for at some point in their lives, the ability to read someone’s mind. Joe reminds his readers that knowing what goes on inside other people’s heads may not necessarily be something you wish to know, that the knowledge of a person’s deepest, darkest desires is not a pretty thing at all.

Those interested can pick up a copy of Horns from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

 

Horns, has also been adapted into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, along with James Remar and Heather Graham. Although it’s a little different to the novel, it retains the basic fundamentals of the story and provides a pretty good adaptation of this entertaining and rather unusual tale from Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill.

 

See also:

20th Century Ghosts

Heart-Shaped Box

NOS 4A2

The Fireman

Strange Weather

Prison in the Sky by Angela J. Ford (ARC Review)

I received an ARC of Prison in the Sky by Angela J. Ford as I am subscribed to her e-newsletter, however I hadn’t yet familiarised myself with her earlier work, and this novel served as my introduction.

 

Although Prison in the Sky is classed as a stand-alone story it is linked to Angela’s Four Worlds series, and since I haven’t read those books I constantly felt like I was missing some really important information and backstory. The narrative begins at the end of an epic battle, which marks the conclusion of a major conflict. The main character, Marklus is traversing the battlefield and using his unique gift of healing to help wounded soldiers. There’s not much detail about the battle given within the book, or indeed where Marklus’s healing gift came from, was he born with it or was it bestowed upon him? So I struggled a little to follow what was going on and why, but maybe if I had read the Four Worlds series, this information would have been clearer.

The story continues with Marklus and fellow warrior, Crinte the Wise, as they travel to the city in the sky and are held there against their will. Once it gets going the story is quite enjoyable, but I found it difficult to relate to the two-dimensional main characters, due to the lack of prior context and missing details. I did however, enjoy learning about the Mermis, the inhabitants of the kingdom in the clouds, and the book did enough to keep me reading until the end.

 

I’m not really sure what to make of Angela’s Prison in the Sky, but I’m going to rate it at 3 out of 5 stars. This is because I understood the basic premise of the novel, and feel that it would be enjoyable for those already familiar with her Four Worlds fantasy series, and as a newbie the book did enough to convince me to check out more of her work. Unfortunately though, I don’t think it fully works as a stand-alone novel, as the reader is thrust into the middle of an unknown world that they don’t really understand.

 

One final thing to note is that I disagree with the decision to send out ARCs of a book that hasn’t yet been through a final thorough proofread. While it was noted that proofreading was in progress, I was rather dismayed at the high number of spelling issues contained within this ARC of Prison in the Sky. This repeatedly distracted me from the story, making it difficult to read, so I had trouble maintaining focus on an already confusing book. However, I hope that these errors will have been corrected by the time of the book’s official release.

 

Prison in the Sky releases today, May 24th, and those interested can pick up a copy from Amazon.co.uk here.