Sunday, March 11, 2018

Bloodstained Oz by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore ~ 2006


Rainbows?  What Rainbows?




Authors: Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, Ray Garton (Introduction), Glenn Chadbourne (Illustrator)
Publisher: Earthling Publications; 1st, Limited edition (May 30, 2006)
Publication: May 30, 2006
Pages: 114
Language: English
Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0976633965
ISBN-13: 978-0976633969
We're Not in Oz  Anymore (Introduction) copyright © 2006 Ray Garton
Cover and interior art copyright © 2006 Glenn Chadbourne
Above picture is a special limited edition paperback printing for the 2nd Annual Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, Halloween 2016
This edition and interior design copyright © 2016 Paul Miller
Author photographers: Close friends


"This book was provided by Paul Miller in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."


4 Stars


Christopher Golden
I absolutely agree with Ray Garton, who in his introduction claims he can never watch the Wizard of Oz film in the same innocent way again.  This trip to Oz is for adults only folks,  unless, you want your children traumatized.  This is a two and a half hour wicked hell read that makes you wish for a damn rainbow.

Unbelievable logical comparisons to L. Frank Braum's story which nabbed me right along until I was hoping for that rainbow myself.  A wicked gore ride that sparkles not only in emeralds but with characters that are so vivid, the scenes are for the gasping - believe me, you'll agree with Ray ~

Bloodstained Oz opens up in 1933 in Hawley, Kansas where 9 year old Gayle Franklin wondered if her father was right in describing the drought they were going through was indeed the wrath of God.  On a scorching July afternoon she witnessed the blue skies being taken away.  A storm was brewing on the horizon and heading for them.  Bringing darkness.

Golden and Moore brought a wicked read with chapters completely filled with vivid imagery for the reader.  Instead of sucking Gayle up into the twister and landing her in Oz, the darkness brought Oz to Hawley, Kansas.  The tale has the components of L. Frank Baum's version: The twister, the Scarecrow, the Tin-man, and of course the king of the jungle - the Cowardly Lion.

And let's not forget the flying monkeys.  But these emerald-eyed winged monkeys are not your ordinary flying monkeys, they are vampires.


James A. Moore
The characters played an interesting role for me.  Gayle and her parents with porcelain dolls moving around heaving chaos.  And in the second chapter, prisoners were introduced from the local prison each playing a familiar part - one without brains, one without heart and one coward.

Elisa, her husband Stefan and their baby Jeremiah traveling in the medicine wagon were described with utmost carnage.  The scenes are not for the faint of heart folks.

The characters were very well-written and I believe that's not saying enough.  Each having their own individualized persona, the scenes for each character are palpably depicted.

Hell, this story is horrifically palpable.  Absolutely delicious.  Or, evilicious I should say for the true horror readers.

The tale is told in three individual stories which were sewn together pretty damn nice by the ending.  Loved that twist for the story.  As I said, all three parts were fused together quite nicely toward the end as they decided they needed to leave Hawley and search for a place the evil had not touched.  Nearing the end of this quick tale of horror, I loved the part in the barn, where you hear the tiny voice state, "No, he's a friend."  Because I wondered what happened to that character.

The ending ~ There were reviews reflecting some folks did not care for the ending.  For me, it kept my imagination going (actually, it kept my hope going) The Lion tells Gayle, "You'll be all right Gayle.  You only need a little courage."

Well, happy endings are for storybooks.

Folks, this is a twisted fast paced violent horror read that is intended to scare the shit out of adults - it is not for children.  Let their childhood be filled with L. Frank Baum's innocent version once a year.  Then as those children grow, (hee hee) wanna scare them?  This is the book that will shatter their memories.  Guaranteed.


Scarecrow




As the Scarecrow said: "It'll spread here now, little girl ... the darkness ... just like Oz, the blood will spill and it's never enough ... the monsters are here ..."

I recommend this read for hard-core adult horror reader's.  For people who like only safe and familiar things here's my warning - DO NOT READ!



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Here's where you can get your fingers on Bloodstained Oz:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $2.99 ~ Hardback from $200.00 USD
  •  Barnes & Noble ~ Hardcover (Limited) $35.00 Temporarily Out of Stock Online - 2 New & Used from $346.03 USD


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About the authors  ~





Connect with Christopher Golden







CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the award-winning, bestselling author of such novels as The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, Of Saints and Shadows, and (with Tim Lebbon) The Map of Moments.  He has also written books for teens and young adults, including Poison Ink, Soulless, and the thriller series Body of Evidence, honored by the New York Public Library and chosen as one of YALSA’s Best Books for Young Readers.  Upcoming teen novels include a new series of hardcover YA fantasy novels co-authored with Tim Lebbon and entitled The Secret Journeys of Jack London.

A lifelong fan of the “team-up,” Golden frequently collaborates with other writers on books, comics, and scripts.  In addition to his recent work with Tim Lebbon, he co-wrote the lavishly illustrated novel Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire with Mike Mignola.  With Thomas E. Sniegoski, he is the co-author of multiple novels, as well as comic book miniseries such as Talent and The Sisterhood, both currently in development as feature films.  With Amber Benson, Golden co-created the online animated series Ghosts of Albion and co-wrote the book series of the same name.

As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies The New Dead and British Invasion, among others, and has also written and co-written comic books, video games, screenplays, the online animated series Ghosts of Albion (with Amber Benson) and a network television pilot.

The author is also known for his many media tie-in works, including novels, comics, and video games, in the worlds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, Angel, and X-Men, among others.

Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in fourteen languages in countries around the world.


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 Connect with James A. Moore







 “James A. Moore is the new prince of grimdark fantasy. His work is full of dark philosophy and savage violence, desperate warriors and capricious gods. This is fantasy for people who like to wander nighttime forests and scream at the moon. Exhilarating as hell."
—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of SNOWBLIND and ARARAT

“Gripping, horrific, and unique, James Moore continues to be a winner, whatever genre he’s writing in. Well worth your time.”
– Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the InCryptid and Toby Daye series.

James A. Moore’s, The Last Sacrifice, the 1st book in The Tides of War series, delivers on every level. A pulse quickening dark fantasy ripe with fascinating, multifaceted heroes and villains, and a vein of the horrific that barely hides, squirming just below the surface of it all. I can’t wait to see where this goes in Book 2.
Thomas E. Sniegoski – New York Times Best Selling author of The Fallen series, and the Remy Chandler books.

"You emerge from any Moore novel feeling like you've spent some time in that world––traumatised, beaten up, bloodied from battle––and The Last Sacrifice is no exception. Brilliantly imaginative, intricately drawn, this is a novel and an experience you won't forget in a hurry." - Tim Lebbon, author of The Silence and Relics

“THE LAST SACRIFICE is brilliant, devious, dark and compelling. This is epic fantasy at its very best. Highly recommended!” –Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of KILL SWITCH and MARS ONE

JAMES A. MOORE is the author of over forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Blood Harvest, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) Cherry Hill, Alien: Sea of Sorrows and the Seven Forges series of novels. He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President.

Never one to stay in one genre for too long, James has recently written epic fantasy novels in the series SEVEN FORGES (Seven Forges, the Blasted Lands, City of Wonders and The Silent Army). He is working on a new series called The Tides Of War. The first book in the series The Last Sacrifice, came out this last January and the sequel, Fallen Gods, is due out in late December. Pending novels also include A Hell Within (a Griffin & Price Novel) co-written with Charles R. Rutledge and an apocalyptic Sci-Fi novel tentatively called Spores. Why be normal?

Being a confirmed Luddite, he is working up the nerve to plunge completely into the electronic publications age.

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Connect with Glenn Chadbourne



I’m told most sites such as this one contain a little bio of the artist, so here goes.  I was born up here in Damariscotta, Maine, some 49 years back on a late October day.  Nothing spectacular there.  No particular fanfare.  No sirens bleating in the streets, no cries of joy or horror from those in attendance.

We lived on a quiet street near the town proper and there weren’t any kids nearby to play with, so as a small child I drew things to amuse myself like a lot of kids do.  I lived in my own head, my own imagination through those young years.  It was like Forest Gump who takes to running because it’s just in him.  I took to drawing.  There was a mom ‘n pop store (no convenience stores in those days) about a half mile from my house and around the time I was in grammar school my father would take me down there with him on Sunday mornings.  The store carried comics/magazines and that’s where I was introduced to the great old Warren mags of the day.  Famous Monster Of Filmland, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella etc etc.  Also the EC’s of course; Tales from the Crypt and so on.  It should go without saying that I loved these things and because of that love I began to shift direction in my drawings, which up until then had mostly contained G.I. themes.  I started to draw spooky stuff–and again, it stuck.

Time rolled along and I kept this up throughout high-school and into college.  Then, in my twenties I decided to send some stuff I’d done off to various outlets that bought and published artwork for magazines.  I didn’t have much luck, but I kept at it and sold a few things here and there.  It wasn’t until I met my great pal Rick Hautala that things began to blossom.  I met Rick at a Borders book store up here and we began talking over books, the horror bizz and so forth, and he asked to see some of my work.  I drew a design for a short story collection of his called Bedbugs which was to be published by Cemetery Dance Publications and he loved it.  From there I formed a relationship with the fine folks at CD and I went on to draw/paint things for a variety of their books/comics/magazine.

Along the way other publishers noticed my art and tossed a few gigs in my direction and as of today my work has appeared in some fifty odd books, along with a bevy of comics and magazines.  Most notable of course being the stuff I did for Stephen King’s Secretary Of Dreams, volume one, and volume two–soon to be published–along with the really nice edition of SK’s Colorado Kid, published by PS Publishing.  Lately I’ve done some artwork for Doug Clegg for his book, Isis, and that’s been morphed into a computer game.  The game is very very cool and it’s another new direction I’d like to explore.  And of course I’ve also caught up with the rest of the world with this online stuff now and I’m pretty excited about that.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman ~ 2016


Two Women - Two Worlds - One table




Author: Peggy Lampman
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 16, 2016)
Publication: August 16, 2016
Pages: 396
Language: English
ASIN: B01DF0TM5A
Cover design: Laura Klynstra
Cover photography: Jonathan Pollock / Getty Images
Author photographer: Close friends


"This book was provided by Peggy Lampman in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."


3 Stars


Peggy Lampman
Peggy Lampman brings to the table a heart-warming tale of two southern ladies,  Shelby Preston and Mallory Lakes, who couldn't be more different from one another.

The tale is told in two parts with alternating chapters from Shelby, Mallory, and Miss Ann.  You will see how they get together through their love of food.

Shelby, who feels constricted in her poverty stricken life in a suburban town of Coryville, Georgia, dreams of becoming a chef.  A job that will bring a better life for herself and her daughter, Miss Ann.

Mallory, a newspaper food columnist in Atlanta is trying to pick up some threads of a breakup and tries to hold on to her job.  There are major changes at work, so she gets involved in writing a daily blog on the growing farm-to-table movement.

The tale covers a year's time of insightful thought, love, friendship, and of course - food.

A very slow read for me, where at times, I had a hard time getting back to it.  I did not feel the atmosphere I was expecting.  No smell from the peach trees, nor the stink from the pigs, nor any flower in bloom.  The setting was there, yet, not in the detail where it actually made me feel I was with the characters.

Repetitiveness was one issue for me.  Example - How many times, and in different ways, is it necessary to describe the jackalope's eyes?  I get Shelby's point on how she feels about that stuffed jackalope and his eyes 'following her', from the first couple of times.  Maybe after distinguishing Shelby's view of the jackalope, mention that issue with a bit less.  The reader knows all ready how that affects her.

This tale I felt was told to me instead of making me disappear into a fictional world that I need to have in order to escape reality for a moment.  I tried to feel with the characters - their heartbreaks, their joys - it wasn't there for me.  I read the words, but, wasn't evocative enough to  'being there'.

Inside the covers, the story was chock full of issues - racism, discrimination against Mexican immigrants, life of a single mom, spouses who cheat, there's bullying and prescription drug abuse, drinking and driving, drug dealers, the organic farm-to-table movement.  Folks, that is just a handful of the issues that are covered.  Hey, that's fine if you want to throw those issues in, but, cover them with how the characters have closure on them.  A sound closure.

I felt this tale had so much going on, yet, not enough 'meat' going on.

The ending came and my reflection was of love and hope, learning to forgive others, endearing friendship, how tight families are, and dedication to your offspring.

I will enjoy these recipes that are in the back - man, some of those sound so delicious - Chicken Gumbo Ya-Ya, Blue Cheese Chicken Salad Stuffed in Endive, Fried Green Tomato BLT, Bacon and Beer-Braised Brats with Apple Kraut - to name just a few folks.  Plenty more from where these came from, so, get hungry!


I would recommend this read if you are looking for a recipe book with a story.



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Here's where you can get your fingers on The Promise Kitchen:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $3.99 ~ Paperback $9.70 USD


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About the author  ~

 Peggy Lampman is the award-winning, best-selling author of THE PROMISE KITCHEN and THE WELCOME HOME DINER, both published by Lake Union Publishing.  She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan.  After graduating, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm.

She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet.  After selling the store, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive.

Her free time is spent herding kids and indulging in her barbecue addiction with Big Green Egg cult cookery.




Connect with Peggy











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 The Welcome Home Diner: A Novel


Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town.  There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community.  Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for.  If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship.  But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?


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