Gwendy’s Button Box – Stephen King & Richard Chizmar (Kendall Review)

This 164 page novella, covers a decade in the life of Gwendy Peterson, a body conscious 12-year-old  trying to address her suffering at the hands of cruel bullies and prepare herself for the step up into middle school and adulthood. Her life’s thrown a curve ball when, after finishing her daily exercise routine of running up the ‘Suicide Stairs’ she meets a mysterious man, who offers her a button box.

This box has a power, the power to make you better, to make you faster, stronger, smarter, even more beautiful. On the flip side, the box with just the press of a button, could change the world. This novella follows Gwendy as she grows and matures with the box and how her choices change her life and the people around her.

I found this a thoroughly enjoyable quick read, but it’s not without flaws. I felt the story needed fleshing out more. There is a larger book hidden away in here. I understand that not spoon-feeding the reader and leaving them something to think about once the book snaps shut is sometimes a good thing, but for me there were too many questions left unanswered. There is not quite enough meat on a very interesting  set of bones.

Saying that, it certainly didn’t spoil Gwendy’s story, as I followed her with a delicious sense of unease and tension.

I really do hope we get to find out more about the button box in the near future.

Star Rating (out of 5): 4****

The Diary Of A Young Girl [Abridged For Young Readers] – Anne Frank (Freya, Guest Reviewer)

This book is outstanding…I loved it! The way a 14/15 year-old girl in the time of war could write so normally, when there’s a battle across the world. I wish very much that she was alive today to tell others what it was like in the annexe. I especially like it being a diary, because the author normally writes about their feelings and more detailed events in their lives.

Anne Frank wrote in her diary that no-one would be interested in her – but now, thousands are! I didn’t want the book to end, and I felt upset when it did. It ended suddenly with no goodbyes or anything, as she didn’t know her life was in great danger very soon.

Anne Frank starts writing in her diary soon after her birthday, when she gets it. She then writes about her life; her parents; her sister, Margot and admirers. In a matter of a couple of weeks, a World War was announced, and the Frank family, along with some others, went into hiding. A year went by, and Anne was still in the annexe. In the middle of the book, there are some pictures of her and others who were in hiding with her.

The diary she wrote ended about one year later, when her life was at a sad end.

Overall, I would rate it 10/10.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events “The Bad Beginning” – Lemony Snicket (Freya, Guest Reviewer)

This book is the first of thirteen about the Baudelaires’ unfortunate story.

Klaus, twelve, Sunny, a baby, and violet, thirteen, are left to a new guardian – an evil villain who is after their fortune. This all happened after an accident involving their home and loved ones.

I love this book a lot because I find it very funny and enjoyable to read. The way the story’s written flows perfectly with the current event. The whole story-line is amazing, I love it very much!

Overall, I would rate it 10/10.

 

The Guns Of Santa Sangre – Eric Red (Kendall Review)

A tale of three gunslingers who hear of a small town church full of silver, trouble is, between them and unlimited riches, a band of brutal werewolves!

Does this western/horror hybrid have teeth or is it shooting blanks?

‘Guns’ is a punchy, action packed novel that plays up to the old movie clichés of the rugged gunslinger. The novels leads Tucker, Bodie and Fix are classic examples of your usual hard-drinking, tobacco chewing, guns for hire. They have a bounty over their heads and are on the run. Constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the law they’re approached by a young peasant girl named Pilar who begs them for their help. Her village has been pillaged by ‘Men Who Walk Like Wolves’, with the promise of all the silver from the villages church as a reward, the trios unspoken leader, Tucker, agrees to go and help.

Moving from set piece to set piece at a fantastic pace, only slowing for an unnecessarily long passage where the gunslingers are travelling across the desert to the werewolf infested village , this is high-octane, gore filled entertainment. The first chapter sets the stall out perfectly! Consisting of a high-speed stage-coach chase across the desert, with howling werewolves in pursuit. It was so visual and had me hooked.

Characterisation of the three gunslingers is well written. Everyone else, bar the lead werewolf, Mosca and the old drunk with a werewolf history,  are just there to push the story along. I didn’t really want endless back story, but I’d liked to of seen more about the drunk (How about a prequel Eric?) This is gunslinger v werewolves after all.  Eric Red has given the reader just about enough to create a set of characters that you root for, or against.

The werewolves brutality is wince inducing, they have no limits to satisfy their blood lust. So can Tucker, Bodie and Fix save the villages survivors? These survivors are caged up and pulled out one by one like some macabre pick ‘n mix  to be eaten or worse!

I say worse as this is where my one issue with this novel lies. I’m a horror fan, I have no objection to violence and gore if it’s deemed necessary to the plot,  Eric Red has nailed the violence/gore ratio but what is in the book to degrees with which I found unacceptable was the brutality toward women. There was so much sexual violence it was uncomfortable for me as a reader, it took me out of the story at times sadly.  The ‘meat puppet’ description is one of the most disgusting things I have read in a book for a long while!

Despite my criticism, which I know will put some people off, THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE is a fast paced, action packed, blood soaked novel that i’d thoroughly recommend.

Star Rating (out of 5): 4****

I can’t wait to read the upcoming sequel THE WOLVES OF EL DIABLO which is out in August through SST Publications.

I’d like to thank Paul at SST Publications for kindly sending me a copy of ‘GUNS’ to review.

GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE is out now and can be ordered directly from SST using the following link

All The Wrong Questions “Who Could That Be At This Hour?” – Lemony Snicket (Freya, Guest Reviewer)

Today, I have a special treat for people who read my reviews and visit this blog. I have a guest reviewer, 10-year-old bookworm, Freya. I will post an interview with Freya soon, but first, please take your time to read her first contribution to the blog…

This book is about Lemony Snicket when he was twelve years old. He was the apprentice of S. Theodora Markson, and helped her to return the ‘Bombinating Beast’ to its rightful owner – but who is it?

I think this book is amazing – it tells the story very well and I love how he meets all the characters. Also, some parts of the story were hard for me to understand, but eventually I caught on. Throughout the story, there were a lot of new words  to me, and it explains what it means to do with the situation, etc, ‘Obsequious – When someone is treated like a servant when they are not one. Overall, I would rate it 9/10.

The Hatching – Ezekiel Boone (Kendall Review)

After 60 or so pages of Ezekiel Boones novel The Hatching, there were nukes dropped in China, multiple victims eaten by spiders. an epic plane crash and the suggestion that the world is on the brink of the apocalypse. None of the above comments are spoilers as they are mostly detailed on the back of the UK paperback but it gives you an idea of the scope of this novel. This is Ezekiel Boone channeling Roland Emmerich to create a story that rockets along at a fantastic pace throwing everything at the reader, and producing a thrilling novel that is such fun to read.

Each chapter tells the story of the spider invasion from different viewpoints, be it the army or civilians, the spider specialist and the FBI agent, to the US president and how she tries to deal with the world being ravaged by flesh-eating spiders. It’s credit to Boones writing that there is a pretty large cast of characters, that are not just spider fodder, they’ve been fleshed out pretty well, so that you actually care about what happens to them.  The chapters are mostly punchy with lots going on, the story moves forward at a frantic pace, although for me there were two chapters that were too long, and caused the story to drag slightly (the survivalists setting up their camp and the President talking to Manny about initial plans), but that’s a small criticism as soon you are back with grandiose set-pieces and spider mayhem aplenty.

Sadly the novel did finish with a bit of a whimper, which based on all that has gone before is a shame. My disappointment at how The Hatching ended was somewhat tempered by the fact that I knew there was a sequel entitled Skitter, due May 2017.  Were these books originally one large volume and split ala Peter Jacksons adaption of The Hobbit?  Saying that, The Hatching is a well written, fun novel that manages to stay fresh within a sub genre that has many entries. It’s only now I have finished the book that I can see it’s the foundations for what could well be the definitive spider invasion story, I absolutely loved reading The Hatching my expectations are through the roof for Skitter.

Star Rating (out of 5): 4****

 

I’d like to thank the author Ezekiel Boone for writing such an engrossing novel.

Thanks and gratitude also go to Stevie Finegan and Gollancz  for sending me The Hatching to review.

 

Seraphim Comics have such sights to show you with preview pages from their new Hellraiser: Anthology

KendallReviews has been lucky enough to gain early access to the new Hellraiser: Anthology from Clive Barkers own Seraphim Comics. I will be submitting a review shortly, but till then, here is a very brief history of the Hellraiser graphic novel.

1987 saw the release of Clive Barkers directorial debut Hellraiser. Based on Barkers own novella The Hellbound Heart (1986). The storyline was so rich and the movie successful enough to call for a multitude of sequels, but fans were left increasingly unsatisfied. We wanted to know more about the Cenobites, Leviathon and The Box. Movies with their limited budgets could not do the mythology justice. To remedy this, 1989 saw a series of graphic novels released by Epic Comics (who were a spin-off of Marvel Comics)

These were beautifully drawn and mostly incredibly well written stories that focused on tales of the Box and the various people who came into contact with it. Such was the demand for these stories that spin-off titles were created. Sadly, this all came to an end in 1994 after the release of Hellraiser: Spring Slaughter.

Fans would then have to wait 16 or so years for the surprise announcement that the graphic novel series was going to be rebooted, with the original series also getting a partial reprint as Hellraiser: Masterpieces. (12 issues in total)

The graphic novel reboot would be produced by Boom! Studios and written by Clive Barker and Christopher Monfette. First released was a 20 issue series entitled Hellraiser.

In 2012, Hellraiser: The Road Below saw a 4 issue run.

Followed by Hellraiser: The Dark Watch (12 issues 2013/14) and Bestiary (6 issues 2014/15)

 

Now in 2017, fans are rejoicing, there is a new Hellraiser Anthology being released. This time via Clive Barkers own company Seraphim Comics. Available initially at Monsterpalooza, Pasadena, CA – April 7th to 9th 2017 (Hardcover only) and then visit www.realclivebarker.com from April 14th 2017 (Hardcover & Digital Download).

The anthology will feature stories written by Clive Barker, Ben Meares, Mark Alan Miller, Blumhouse’s David and Rebekah McKendry and POW Entertainment’s Matt. Murray, with artwork by Daniele Serra (who also illustrated the cover), Riley Schmitz, Clive Barker, Sam Shearon, Nick Percival, Jim Terry, and Jimm O’Dell.

The anthology was edited by Ben Meares, with Matt. Murray assistant editing. “We had a very simple mission statement at the beginning of our journey with this comic,” Ben Meares, Editor-in-Chief of Seraphim Comics said. “We set out to create something with no limits and no censorship, that everyone involved, as both creatives and fans of the Hellraiser mythos, would be proud of.”

I’m delighted to be able to show you some preview pages from Hellraiser: Anthology.

As you can see the quality is outstanding! This feels like a labour of love, created by people who respect the mythology as much as the fans do. I’m sure this title will be a massive success, the tease of having Volume One on the cover suggests to me that future volumes are a possibility. So Hellraiser fans, you know what you have to do…

Thank you very much Clive Barker, Ben Meares and all at Seraphim Comics for letting me have an early look at Hellraiser: Anthology.

Review will be submitted shortly.

 

Clive Barker News! Hellraiser: Anthology gets a release date

Clive Barker’s graphic novel imprint, Seraphim Comics, have revealed the cover and release date for Hellraiser: Anthology.

Hellraiser: Anthology, a 90-page hardcover collection featuring 11 original Hellraiser tales, will debut at Monsterpalooza in Pasadena, CA on April 7th 2017, and will subsequently go on sale on April 14th through Clive Barker’s online store, www.realclivebarker.com, both as a hardcover graphic novel and a digital download.

The anthology will feature stories written by Clive Barker, Ben Meares, Mark Alan Miller, Blumhouse’s David and Rebekah McKendry and POW Entertainment’s Matt. Murray, with artwork by Daniele Serra (who also illustrated the cover), Riley Schmitz, Clive Barker, Sam Shearon, Nick Percival, Jim Terry, and Jimm O’Dell.

The anthology was edited by Ben Meares, with Matt. Murray assistant editing. “We had a very simple mission statement at the beginning of our journey with this comic,” Ben Meares, Editor-in-Chief of Seraphim Comics said. “We set out to create something with no limits and no censorship, that everyone involved, as both creatives and fans of the Hellraiser mythos, would be proud of.”

“I’ve been a part of a number of Hellraiser projects throughout my years with Clive,” Mark Miller, Vice President of Clive Barker’s Seraphim, Inc. and contributing writer added. “And this is easily the most personal project I’ve seen pass through these walls. It’s as lovingly curated as it is delightfully grotesque. I’m proud to have my name in its pages.”

Hellraiser: Anthology will be priced at $35, with copies signed by Clive Barker priced at $65, and the digital download version will be priced at $15.

Release Dates:

Monsterpalooza, Pasadena, CA – April 7th to 9th 2017 (Hardcover only)

www.realclivebarker.com from April 14th 2017 (Hardcover & Digital Download)

Contact Details: If you want Books, Graphic Novels, PS4, Blu-Ray Reviewed!

Firstly, thank you very much for taking the time to check out my contact details.

I would love this Blog to grow and KendallReviews to become recognisable as a site that offers fair comment on a variety of products, so I’d really appreciate it if publishers/authors that want products reviewed to please contact me directly via the following methods…

a) Send me an email to gjkendall72@gmail.com
b) Contact me via my blog www.kendallreviews.com
c) Message me on Twitter @gjkendall

I’d be delighted to review the following…books, graphic novels, PS4 games, Blu-Rays. To be honest, if you have something that falls within the genre then I’d love to hear from you.

As well as this Blog, I post my reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. (All under the name KendallReviews)

I’m also a contributor to Ginger Nuts of Horror so your product will also potentially feature there as well.

I do not charge for reviews, and all views are totally my own.

I do mostly like to stay within the horror/supernatural genre, but I’m happy to step outside of that field if the product excites me.

Below are a few of my favourite authors, games and films to give you a flavour for what makes me tick…

Favourite Authors

Adam Nevill, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Clive Barker, Richard Laymon, Sarah Pinborough, James Herbert, Richard Chizmar, Nick Cutter, Josh Malerman, Stephen Jones (Editor)

Favourite Games

Resident Evil, Doom, Destiny, Alien Isolation, Wolfenstein

Favourite Films

The Thing, Hellraiser, Alien,

 

I’m horribly old-school, for me there is nothing better than the feel, look and smell of a book. I would prefer to receive a physical copy of what you would like reviewed, it also means I can advertise your book wherever I’m reading it. It’s surprising how many times I’ve caught someone trying to see what book I’m reading, it’s even better when someone goes that step further and asks me about the book as the title or cover has appealed to them.

Thank you very much for reading this. I would really appreciate it if word could be spread about KendallReviews so please feel free to share

I look forward to hearing from you.

Gavin

Final Girls – Riley Sager (Kendall Review)

Quincy Carpenter is a Final Girl. She’s the sole survivor of the Pine Cottage Murders, a killing spree that saw her friends all die at the hands of a maniac. It’s been ten years since that fateful night, Quincy is still trying to rebuild her life, she doesn’t remember much, but still remembers ‘Him’. The flash of steel in the moonlight and the cold piercing agony as the knife struck down on her.

The death of another Final Girl, Lisa Milner, brings the only survivor of the massacre at the Nightfall Inn, Samantha Boyd,  out of hiding and straight to Quincys doorstep…but why?

This is an incredibly well written début novel. The pacing is perfect, with its slow introductions and gradual peeling back of layers, only revealing  enough information to pull you into the next chapter, this process continues, picking up pace till the novel reaches a very satisfying conclusion.

The story is full of twists, plenty of red herrings and a lot of baking. (Quincy runs her own baking blog). I thought I had the book worked out twice, and twice Riley Sager laughed at my schoolboy detective work.

Final Girls is a psychological thriller that’s also an homage to those classic slasher movies of the 80s & 90s. What happens to the girl at the end of the movie, with the blanket round her shoulders, covered in blood, sitting in the back of the ambulance?  In Final Girls, Riley Sager has managed to keep an old slasher film fan like me enthralled, and kept me guessing right till the end.This would make for a superb movie, the books slow build , snappy dialogue and excellent set pieces would be perfect for the big screen. I could see it developed into a screenplay that David Fincher would have a blast filming, it really is that good!

Star Rating (out of 5): 4****

Final Girls is released 13th July 2017 by Ebury Press.

Thank you to Ebury Press and Joanna Bennett for sending me an advanced copy of the book.

 

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